Bullet Hole Characteristics, Limiting Factors, and Reconstructing Shooter Location within a Crime Scene




Jennings, Jonatthan

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Shooting scene reconstruction and the identification of where the shooter and weapon most likely were located, can be critical pieces of information for law enforcement and crime scene investigators. During an extensive literature review, the gap which appeared was identifying the most likely position of the shooter when accounting for limiting factors, such as room size and furniture. There are several ways to conduct shooting trajectory analysis, with individuals such as Haag, L., and Haag, M. (2011), Hueske (2009), Gardner and Bevel (2009), Gardner and Krouskup (2019), writing at length about the process of determining shooting trajectory and overall crime scene reconstruction. The trajectory analysis for this project was adopted from Gardner and Bevel (2009) and through coordination with the Virginia State Police and included using trajectory rods, angle finders, protractors, and lasers to determine the trajectory of the bullet. Then limiting factors along the path of the bullet, gunshot residue (GSR), and overall room size was accounted for, to identify the most likely position of the shooter. According to Gardner and Bevel (2009) and through coordination with certified crime scene experts, it was determined that shooter positions are broadly assigned to zones one through three. The results expected from this project are to refine zone 1 described as the most probable shooting location, identify the overall accuracy rate of shooting trajectory analysis, and to develop a predictive model statistical analysis to determine the impact of the limiting factors on predicting the shooter’s distance. The conclusion anticipated from this research is when all factors are taken into account, a most likely shooter location could be identified within +- three through five feet.


This research was conducted to better define the most probable shooter location when conducting shooting scene reconstruction. Additionally, this paper set out to identify key factors needed to conduct this placement, as well as, establish predictive modeling techniques, to better assist crime scene examiners.


Shooting Trajectory, Crime scene forensics