ARVADA (KDVR) — There have been many questions asked about who shot whom at the shooting in Olde Town Arvada Monday.
The sheer size and number of bullets fired are the biggest challenges in investigating a crime scene like this, but the cartridges on the ground can give detectives a good idea of where shooters were standing.
“Those fired cartridge cases can give you an indication as to where a shooter might have been or the area where that shooter might have been,” said forensic expert Jonathyn Priest.
Priest is a 31-year veteran of the Denver Police Department who investigated thousands of criminal cases.
Priest did not comment on the Arvada investigation but gave us a better idea of how bullet trajectories play a big role in various cases.
“If you have a shooting at an outdoor scene and a bullet perforates a door, you now have an area that is re-constructable. So, you can establish a trajectory and you can get an idea of where it originated,” said Priest.
Early on, Arvada police said Officer Gordon Beesley was shot by the gunman.
Today we learned that it was another officer who shot Johnny Hurley, a good Samaritan who tried to stop the shooting.
Priest says, generally speaking, bullets have telltale characteristics that can lead investigators to the gun that fired it.
“If you locate the fired bullet, you now have the ability to have that examined by an expert to look at individual characteristics on the fired bullet to match it to a particular firearm. Once you begin doing that, your’re now able to link pieces of evidence to certain individuals,” said Priest.
Where a person’s body is struck can also help investigators determine where the bullets came from.
Priest says figuring out who shot whom can take a tremendous amount of time. How long it takes depends on the expertise on an investigative team, along with the tools and resources available to help them determine how a shooting went down.