SANTA ANA – After a 24-year-old security guard was shot and killed in an apartment complex parking lot, Santa Ana police were left with few leads. They didn’t have a description of the shooter. The motivation and events that led to the shooting were unclear.
But they did have a 10 mm shell casing.
By reading the various gauges and markings on bullets and shell casings – essentially a metal fingerprint – firearms examiners can show definitively they came from an individual gun. Over the past few years, the Santa Ana Police Department has been among the top agencies in the country in linking firearms evidence between crimes, joining the ranks of larger departments such as the New York City Police Department and the Illinois State Police in Chicago.
It’s a success that Santa Ana firearms examiner Rocky Edwards attributes to prioritizing, efficiency and getting creative with technology. He hopes the department’s approach can serve as a model for other cities, and he’s confident it is making a difference in gang and gun crime.
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