Protester shot to death by troopers did have gunshot residue on his hands, according to GBI

ATLANTA — The results of lab testing reveal that a protestor who was shot and killed by Georgia State Troopers after they say he shot a trooper multiple times had gunshot residue on his hands, supporting the possibility that he fired a gun.

Manuel Teran, 26, was shot to death on Jan. 18 during a raid on the future site of an Atlanta police and fire safety training facility.

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A new Georgia Bureau of Investigation forensics report obtained by Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Mark Winne on Monday concluded that samples taken from Teran’s hands revealed more than five particles characteristic of gunshot residue.

“Such particles are residue from a detonated primer of a discharged firearm,” the report says.


The report notes that it is possible for victims of gunshot wounds, both self-inflicted and non-self-inflicted, to have GSR on their hands.

Teran was skilled after the GBI said he opened fire unexpectedly on troopers as they tried to clear the site.

According to the GBI, troopers gave Teran verbal commands to come out of his tent, but he refused. The GBI said Teran then shot at them without warning and they shot back in self-defense. In Atlanta Police body camera video, you can hear four distinct shots before a barrage of rapid-fire gunshots.

According to an autopsy performed by the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s office concluded that Teran had more than 57 gunshot wounds.

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The GBI says that forensic ballistic analysis confirmed that the bullet recovered from the trooper’s wound matched Teran’s handgun that was recovered at the scene. Agents identified the gun as a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm.

The autopsy report said that no gunshot residue was observed on Teran’s hands, not that it wasn’t present. Powder residue is not always something that is visible to the naked eye.

Winne spoke to forensics expert Chris Robinson on Monday, who said the results the fact that there were five particles of GSR on Teran’s hands is a significant amount and tells him that chances are high that Teran fired his gun as opposed to just being in close proximity to a gun that discharged.

“I heard it said the other day that a hair is one micron,” Robinson said. “And so a gunshot residue particle is like, you know, it’s a 100th of a micron. So it’s incredibly small.”

Robinson said the new report is not inconsistent with the finding of the DeKalb County medical examiner’s office, but that the report has been widely misinterpreted.

“I believe they are probably talking about gunshot residue, which can’t be seen on the hands,” Robinson said. “It’s microscopic.”

Protesters had been occupying one of Atlanta’s oldest urban forests for months until Teran’s death. The group had gotten into repeated and escalating conflicts with the police, throwing Molotov cocktails and shooting fireworks at officers.

After Teran’s death, seven protesters were arrested on domestic terrorism charges after they staged a “night of rage” in which they marched through the city, damaging property.

Though the protesters claimed to be peaceful, Mike Register, the Director of the GBI, said the protesters were violent on many occasions and that they would be held accountable.

Agents found mortar-style fireworks, multiple edged weapons, pellet rifles, gas masks and a blow torch when they cleared the campsites days after Teran’s death.

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