Seattle Police released five photos this week of the shotgun they say Kurt Cobain used to kill himself.
They published the photos for the first time in response to a public records request from CBS News. The photos, the network writes, are evidence debunking a conspiracy theory that the police melted down the weapon to cover up the fact that Cobain was actually murdered.
An electrician found the body of the Nirvana frontman in a room above his garage on April 8, 1994. Cobain was holding the shotgun and there was a suicide note next to the body. Officials determined that a bullet through his mouth killed the musician and ruled his death a suicide.
But conspiracy theories claiming that Cobain was actually murdered sprung up nearly immediately, with skeptics accusing the Seattle PD of not thoroughly investigating the death. Norm Stamper, Seattle's police chief when Cobain died, has said that he would reopen the case if he were still in charge today. One theory in particular accuses the police department of giving the shotgun to Courtney Love, Cobain's widow, to have it melted down.
The photos released Tuesday are evidence against that claim. Nonetheless, they have only reignited debate about the nature of Cobain's death on social media, Salon writes.
Love and Frances Bean Cobain — their daughter — have been fighting against a lawsuit by conspiracy theorist Richard Lee asking the department to release graphic crime scene photos of the body. It’s not hard to understand why. The two women have argued that the release "would encourage more disturbed stalkers and fanatical threats,” CNN reports.
Two years ago, on the 20th anniversary of Cobain’s death, the police department released numerous photos from the crime scene. The department released an additional 34 images in 2015.