Autopsy confirms death from gunshot to chest

Oct. 02, 2013 @ 06:57 PM

Medical reports on a Raleigh man shot dead Oct. 20 of last year near Springwood Apartments confirms he died of a gunshot wound through the chest.

According to a report released Tuesday, 25-year-old Gregory Welfare had been sitting in his car arguing with members of an opposing gang before a gunfight erupted.

Welfare shot first, firing an AK-47 rifle from his car. At least one bullet struck a rival gang member in the buttocks. A second rival shot at Welfare, hitting him one or more times according to a medical examiner’s investigative report signed by Dr. Bev Tucker.

Welfare also had a “firearm injury” to the left pelvis area “with retained projectiles” recovered, according to an autopsy report signed Friday by Dr. Clay Nichols of the chief medical examiner’s office in Raleigh.

According to Tucker’s notes on what police reported to him, Welfare’s vehicle rolled about 100 yards, and he threw the rifle from his car along the way. The car ran off the road and into a ditch where police found Welfare slumped over in the passenger seat.

Nichols indicted that the round killing Welfare crossed through the chest area from the right flank to the left. The bullet traveled slightly rearward and pierced the heart and both lungs. Examiners recovered the bullet from musculature in the right area of the chest.

They also recovered two bullets from the left pelvis area. Welfare had been seated in his vehicle when shot, according to Nichols’ report citing police reports.

Henderson police arrested Darnell Thomas Macon, 23, and LaJohn Laquan Champion Jr., 22, charging each with first-degree murder.

According to the murder report of Sam Currin, the district attorney, Macon and Champion are scheduled for Dec. 9 trial dates. Champion is also scheduled for court on traffic charges Oct. 10 and Dec. 3.

Police reports indicated officers found both Welfare and Champion shot at the scene in the area of Thomas Street and Young Avenue at about 3:30 p.m. Emergency room authorities pronounced Welfare dead soon after his arrival at Maria Parham Medical Center.

Tucker noted the time of injury as 3:13 p.m., and the time of death at the hospital as 3:59 p.m., about 46 minutes later.

Emergency responders treated Champion for a gunshot wound sustained at the scene.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.