Officer Down: Could the Shooter Identify the Police Officer Before Firing at Him?


Hugh B. Borbidge, BSME ::::

Police officers gathered in front of a home where they were going to attempt to serve an arrest warrant to two individuals residing there. The team was comprised of 12 members. The team leader rang the doorbell and knocked on the front door.  There was no response.  After a few seconds a voice inside the house asked "who’s at my door?"  Again, the team leader knocked and now identified himself as a police detective.  He could see the person inside the house start to run towards the back of the house.  The team leader immediately ordered another officer to use the battering ram to gain entrance to the home.  The door opened, the team leader entered the home and was shot.

The police department requested that DJS complete a high-definition (HDS) laser scan survey of the house, as well as recreate the view from the shooter’s vantage point.  A bullet trajectory was established from the bullet entrance of the body and the bones it hit.  It was apparent that the shot came from the top of the staircase directly in front of the doorway.  The police department wanted to determine if the shooter would have been able to identify that the person entering the house was, in fact, a police officer as he entered the house.

DJS created a "to-scale" three-dimensional model of the entrance area of the house from the high-definition laser scan.  DJS also created a computer model of the police officer and positioned him in the entranceway such that the bullet trajectory came from upstairs.  By locating the general area of where the shot had to be fired from, DJS was able to obtain a "view" within the three-dimensional environment from where the shooter was located.  This “view” revealed that the detective was visible and identifiable as a police officer and not as an intruder.



Categories: Case Studies


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