The teenager shot and killed allegedly by an off-duty Tulsa police officer last month died as a result of two gunshot wounds, one of which traveled through his heart after entering through his neck, according to an autopsy report released Tuesday.
Police say Jeremey Lake was killed Aug. 5 by Officer Shannon Kepler, who was arrested the following morning.
Lake, 19, was walking with his girlfriend — Kepler’s daughter Lisa — in the 200 block of North Maybelle Avenue when the off-duty officer pulled up in a black SUV and fired multiple shots, police say.
Two of those bullets struck Lake, who was pronounced dead at the scene. The teenager was struck once in the neck, on the right side just above the clavicle, and once in the right side of his chest, according to the report.
The report states it cannot be determined which wound happened first, only that the bullet that entered Lake’s neck took a sharp turn, puncturing his right lung before entering into his heart’s left atrium, then piercing his left lung, tearing through his spleen and grazing his left kidney.
The bullet eventually fractured a rib on his left side and came to a rest within some nearby soft tissue.
The bullet that entered Lake’s chest passed through his right lung, grazed his liver and exited through his back.
Kepler and his wife, Gina Kepler, surrendered to authorities the following morning. Gina Kepler was arrested and accused of helping her husband after the shooting, although she was not charged.
Shannon Kepler was charged Aug. 18 with first-degree murder and shooting with intent to kill, and he bonded out of jail Aug. 22 after being granted an $825,000 bond.
Kepler, according to testimony given by police investigators during that bond hearing, had inside his home a report detailing a time Lake had been arrested while still a juvenile. On that report, police said, Kepler had hand-written Lake’s address, the home outside where he ultimately died.
The Tulsa County Juvenile Bureau has declined to release Lake’s juvenile record.
Those records sometimes become available when a juvenile offender is later charged as an adult, but because Lake was the victim of a violent crime, not the perpetrator, those files remain sealed.
Kepler’s attorney, Richard O’Carroll, has remained mostly mum on the topic of what his client’s defense will be, only saying that “he doesn’t think much of (the witnesses) … and I do think a great deal of our defense.”
The day after the shooting, Lisa Kepler told reporters that her boyfriend had a knife on him when he was shot as he went to greet Shannon Kepler.
The knife, according to the autopsy report, was a black pocketknife that was in the right front pocket of Lake’s cargo pants.
Lake, according to the report, had no alcohol or drugs in his system when he was killed.
Kepler is set to return to court Oct. 22 for a preliminary hearing.