A grisly post-mortem photo of one of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers appears to have been taken early today after medical personnel turned the body over to law enforcement officials.
The image of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, began circulating online this afternoon after it was posted on popular web sites like Reddit and 4chan. The source of the photo remains unclear.
Seen above, the picture shows Tsarnaev–naked from the hip up–after he died at 1:35 AM at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Tsarnaev was mortally wounded during a gun battle between him and his 19-year-old brother Dzhokar and police.
In an interview, Dr. Richard Wolfe, chief of the hospital’s emergency medicine department, said that he had seen the photo, but stressed that the image “was not taken during the medical procedures or when the medical team had control of the body.”
While Wolfe said that he would be greatly concerned “if it was a health care provider,” he flatly added that, at no point, did hospital staffers photograph Tsarnaev’s body.
Wolfe said that after Tsarnaev was pronounced dead, his body was moved to a “non-clinical area” where custody of the corpse was turned over to law enforcement officials.
The graphic photo shows gunshot wounds to Tsarnaev’s body as well as a large thorocotomy incision on his chest. Additionally, portions of Tsarnaev’s face and right shoulder reflect a discoloration that Wolfe termed “purplish lividity.”
Read more: Smoking Gun