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A case of alleged discharge of a firearm within a vehicle

Burnett, Bryan R.
Forensic science international 2018 v.289 pp. e1
automation, energy-dispersive X-ray analysis, police, scanning electron microscopy
A road-rage altercation occurred between two vehicle drivers. The driver of vehicle 1 stopped and allegedly fired two shots from within his vehicle over the heads of the driver and passenger of vehicle 2 when they were out of their vehicle. The driver of vehicle 2, an off-duty police officer, fired his .45 calibre pistol at the driver of vehicle 1. The bullet went through the windshield and lodged in the instrument panel. Eight gunshot residue (GSR) samples were taken from the interior of vehicle 1 and analysed by automated scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy. The results show for vehicle 1 that a firearm discharged with its breach or cylinder gap within the vehicle was unlikely to have occurred and the .45 calibre bullet which impacted five surfaces of vehicle 1 was accompanied by GSR throughout its travel. A recreational shooter is shown in this study to transfer GSR to the seat of his car. The driver of vehicle 1 visited a recreational gun range prior to the altercation, which would explain the significant GSR contamination of the driver’s seat of his vehicle.