just got the call; a shooting has occurred and as the investigator
it's your responsibility to go to the scene and start the difficult
job of determining the facts of the case. Arriving at the scene
you find out that the shooting happened at a large party. You go
through all of the steps to document, collect the physical evidence
from the scene and then start to interview witnesses. Friends of the victim state the suspect shot him in the back, from across
the room. You then interview the suspect and he says
something completely different. He states that the victim and he were
fighting over the gun when it discharged. He further says that
the bullet struck the victim in the chest.
telling the truth? Who
ya gonna call?!?
local firearm examiner that's who!!!
Firearm examiners routinely examine
a shooting victim's clothing for bullet holes and other evidence that
may allow for a determination of the distance from the muzzle of the
firearm to the clothing.
Typical clothing submission.
The evidence is examined first to see if any bullet holes
can be identified. If what appear to be bullet holes are found,
an attempt will be made to determine which are bullet entrance holes and which
are bullet exit holes. Determining which hole is
the entrance hole is critical because the evidence needed for a
distance determination will be on the entrance side.
the distance from the firearm to the questioned garment will come next
and can involve two distinctly
different tests. There are tests to determine the firing distance by examining
the area around a bullet entrance hole for
gunshot residues and then there are cases involving shotguns
where firearm examiners will attempt to determine the firing distance through shotgun pattern
testing. These examinations are sometimes
referred to as muzzle-to-garment or
muzzle-to-target distance tests.
of the type of test being conducted the goal is to approximate the
distance from the object that was shot to the muzzle end of the
firearm in question, and in turn, help to prove or disprove certain
facts of the case.
the links above or click next below to learn more about
bullet holes, gunshot residue and the procedures and examinations
conducted in making distance determinations.