(JONESBORO, Ark.) -- Police say a 21-year-old man arrested in Arkansas after officers found marijuana on him committed suicide in the back of a patrol car, but his mother believes that police killed him, ABC affiliate KATV-TV reports.
Chavis Carter was searched and handcuffed behind his back after police officers discovered marijuana on him. He was then found fatally shot in the head in the back of a squad car. Sgt. Lyle Waterworth, of the Jonesboro Police Dept., says protocol was followed, and Carter was handcuffed behind his back, double locked and searched. But he said officers missed a gun during the search.
"Any given officer has missed something on a search," Waterworth said. "Be it drugs, be it knives, be it razor blades. This instance happened to be a gun," he said.
Teresa Carter, Chavis Carter's mother, believes there is another explanation for what happened.
"I think they killed him," said Teresa. "I mean, my son wasn't suicidal," she said.
The Jonesboro Police Department is looking at all angles, including the possibility that Chavis may have been shot by someone else. The two officers who were present that night are on leave pending the investigation.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio