Shooting incidents can be reconstructed to show the positions from which shots were fired. When multiple shooters are involved, shooting incident reconstruction techniques may be used to determine who fired which shots. The different colors of string in this photo represent the different officers.
Shooting incidents can lead to significant litigation. Knox & Associates can reconstruct virtually any shooting incident to determine such factors as (1) where were the shooters when the incident occurred, (2) how many shots were fired, (3) what could the shooters see, and (4) what environmental factors surrounded the scene.
Most crime scene analysts can reconstruct shootings over short distances using string or lasers. Few, however, can reconstruct shooting incidents over longer distances, such as shootings by police snipers, where the curvature of the bullet's path must be accounted for. Knox & Associates can reconstruct shootings of all types. Using advanced mathematics, such as the differential equations of bullet motion, along with computer software tools, Knox & Associates can reconstruct bullet trajectories dealing with such factors as gravity, crosswind, drag, and other issues not normally dealt with by crime scene analysts.
We don't just tell the jury what happened, we show the jury what happened.
Our methods make it possible to determine which person fired the fatal shot, as is shown in this photograph.
Our experts have over forty-years of combined law enforcement experience, have investigated over 1,200 death scenes, and have documented and reconstructed dozens of police-involved shooting incidents. With an education in mechanical engineering and forensic science, President & Chief Forensic Consultant Michael A. Knox is able to reconstruct bullet trajectories over both short and long distance shootings, even using computer software to account for the drop a bullet experiences over the course of its flight.
Knox & Associates can provide the following services:
Knox & Associates can also help you explain the number of shots fired in a police-involved shooting incident. Our experts not only bring with them experience and training as crime scene investigators and analysts, but they are experienced police officers who understand the dynamics of police-involved shootings. We can help prepare presentations and scene reenactments that will show the media, the public, and the jury just what really happened during a shooting incident. These types of presentations can by very powerful.
This YouTube video shows a scene reenactment of the infamous Amadou Diallo shooting in which four NYPD officers fired 41 rounds killing Diallo. Although all four officers were charged with Diallo's death, a jury ultimately acquitted them. Although this video is not ours, we can create similar video and computer-animated reenactments to assist your case.
Why have Knox & Associates reconstruct a shooting incident? Knox & Associates offers a vast array of not only crime scene experience, but also law enforcement experience. Our experts are not civilian crime scene investigators who have never experienced the demands of police work. We will work with you to reconstruct every aspect of the shooting incident. We can work to educate juries and civilian review boards and to provide an outside, independent analysis of the evidence. We won't simply tell you what you want to hear, but we will tell you everything that the physical evidence can possibly say.
Using trajectory evidence and a bullet in this door, it was possible to determine that a mentally-ill man who pointed a gun at police was advancing toward officers even after the first two shots were fired. In all, four shots were fired. The man was killed by the fourth shot.
At Knox & Associates, we strive to provide you with the best possible analysis of a shooting incident so that you can make an informed decision about how to proceed with litigation. While Knox & Associates cannot guarantee the outcome of any lawsuit or criminal case, we can provide you with valuable information that will bring out the facts of your case.
Proper crime scene reconstruction starts with proper documentation of the scene. It is imperative that forensic evidence is viewed in the proper context of the events and conditions surrounding the shooting incident. Knox & Associates can map the scene of a shooting in three-dimensions using laser mapping equipment and/or photogrammetry software to establish the layout of the scene.
This scene mapping was obtained using laser mapping equipment and photogrammetry.
When scenes cannot be accessed from the ground, Knox & Associates can take aerial photographs using a calibrated camera and obtain scene measurements in three dimensions from the photographs using as few as one known measurement from the scene itself.
The scene mapping is used to prepare a scale diagram to be used in reconstructing the shooting incident.
Three-dimensional computer modeling of a scene can be used to show a variety of key characteristics including how the elevations in a scene affect the reconstruction of what happened. Computer models can also be used to generate photorealistic views from the perspective of a witness, as well as to show key features of the scene that may not be well represented in the original scene documentation.
At Knox & Associates, we don't settle for second-rate analysis. We make sure that everything we do is backed up by forensic science. Shooting incidents can be very complicated with lots of physical evidence to sort out. Bullet trajectories must be determined. The locations from which shots were fired must be established. The timing of various sequences must be reviewed.
Most jurors get their beliefs about shootings from television and the movies. Very little of what they see has anything to do with the reality of shooting incidents. They're over in seconds and don't last through two commercial breaks. Bullets don't make people fly through the air or knock them backward or even necessarily stop them in their tracks.
At Knox & Associates, we conduct the testing that will establish what happened during the shooting. We test fire weapons to determine the particular spread pattern for the ejection of cartridge cases for the weapons involved after carefully matching the type of weapon, the ammunition used, and the manner in which the firearm was held. This type of testing can be used to determine the location from which particular shots were fired.
Knox & Associates can conduct testing to determine an person's shooting location based upon the location of ejected cartridge cases. All too often, "experts" over-simplify this type of analysis by simply assuming, for example, that a particular firearm ejects cartridge cases back and to the right. At Knox & Associates, we rely on research data, independent testing, and probability models to determine the area from which the shooter most likely fired the shots.
We also conduct testing to determine the duration of the shooting and can prepare video recreations that can show a jury just how quickly a large number of shots can be fired, especially when multiple shooters are involved. We can also analyze events surrounding the shooting to determine the approximate length of time over which those events transpired prior to the shooting. How long did it take for police officers to issue commands? How much time did the suspect have to comply with the officers' orders? These are questions that we can answer.
Proper analysis of a shooting incident must be done by a qualified crime scene reconstructionist. Analysis must be based on the the physics and mechanics of the incident. The reconstructionist needs to understand the geometry of the shooting.
Knox & Associates provides analysis from experts who have experience conducting on-scene forensic investigations of hundreds of shooting incidents, including dozens of police-involved shootings. Our experts are experienced police officers who understand the dynamics of a shooting incident. In one recent case, Knox & Associates was faced with the opinions of a forensic pathologist who first claimed that the decedent was shot after he had fallen but eventually revised his opinion to state that the decedent sustained his "most injurious" wound--a head wound--while in a "crouching position".
A plaintiff's expert alleged that the decedent was shot in the head while in a "crouching position".
Using the actual wound measurements recorded at the time of autopsy, Knox & Associates was able to establish that the expert's rendition of the wound path was inaccurate. The plaintiff's expert used a bullet path at an angle that was over ten degrees steeper than the real angle of the shot. Using a scale diagram, Knox & Associates was able to prove that the actual angle of the wound lined up with the position of the officer that fired the shot if the decedent's head was tilted about twelve degrees to the left--about the same angle of head tilt that would be needed for him to look down the barrel of his shotgun.
This diagram shows the angle of tilt of the decedent's head when he was struck in the back of the head by an officer's bullet.
That amount of head tilt is about what is needed to look down the barrel of a shotgun.
Using the bullet paths through the decedent's body as recorded in the autopsy report, it was possible to establish the position of his body at the time that the shots were fired. The decedent, who was left-handed, was standing with his body bladed with his left foot back, his torso was leaned forward, and his head was tilted to the left. This stance is the same position that his body would have to be in for him to be pointing his shotgun at one of the officers. The physical evidence matched the testimony of the officers.
Shooting incidents usually involve some type of bloodstain pattern evidence. This type of evidence should never be overlooked as it provides valuable clues that help bring the picture of what happened into sharper focus. The experts at Knox & Associates have extensive experience with bloodstain pattern evidence at crime scenes, and they teach courses on bloodstain pattern analysis.
Bloodstain pattern evidence can be used to establish important information about how a shooting incident occurred, including establishing the position of a person when wounds were inflicted. At Knox & Associates, we not only analyze the bloodstain pattern evidence, but we also prepare demonstrative evidence to help the jury understand what it means. In one recent case, we simulated the blood loss from wounds to show the difference in the bloodstain patterns between a person that was bleeding while standing up and a person that was lying down. It was clear from photographs of the decedent's bloody shirt that he remained standing for at least several seconds after he sustained the first three of four gunshot wounds.
This video shows how a demonstrative exhibit regarding bloodstain patterns on a decedent's shirt was prepared.
This photograph shows the direction of blood flow if the decedent was lying down.
This photograph shows the direction of blood flow if the decedent was standing up.
The bloodstains on this shirt show that the decedent was standing until after he was struck in the back of the head.
Three-dimensional computer modeling of a scene allows the crime scene reconstructionist to recreate the scene, determine what happened, and then show the jury images that make it easy for anyone to understand the expert's testimony. Computer modeling allows the reconstructionist to take into account the layout and topography of the scene and to understand how differences in elevation affect the analysis.
At Knox & Associates, we can create three-dimensional computer models of a scene that can be used to create animations of what happened. Our computer modeling software is integrated with our two-dimensional diagramming software and our photogrammetry software, which allows us to recreate the scene in vivid detail.
This image shows a photorealistic rendering of a scene from a three-dimensional computer model recreating a police-involved shooting.
Computer models are an excellent way to show a jury what really happened.
Photorealistic renderings can include accurate lighting.
Models can be shown from any viewpoint.
Computer models provide excellent graphics for explaining how a shooting took place.
Photorealistic images help illustrate positioning and shot sequence.
At Knox & Associates, we use the latest technology in trial exhibits to show the jury exactly what really happened during a shooting. We utilize exhibits such as forensic mannequins, replica fireams, and other demonstrative exhibits to make our testimony clear, concise, and simple.
This forensic mannequin can be used to show bullet paths through a body.