Photo by John Schreiber
Photo by John Schreiber

Orange County law enforcement officials on Wednesday hailed a new technology that allows for more thorough tests on bullets, saying it helped them link three separate Anaheim crimes together and could help solve numerous other violent crimes.

The Orange County Crime Lab is the first in the nation to use the Orange County Ballistics Using Local Law Enforcement 3D Technology system, which includes a computer database of bullets and bullet cartridges collected from crime scenes and can give investigators a three-dimensional image that yields more clues.

Orange County Crime Lab Director Bruce Houlihan said the 3D pictures of bullets can help investigators do more with less details when trying to match a projectile with the weapon it was fired from.

The scanner in which the bullet is run through produces a high- definition, three-dimensional image that shows the markings left on it as it exploded through the barrel of a gun, Houlihan said.

Investigators continue to use microscopes to view the markings on bullets, but the enhanced images make it easier to match the projectiles with guns, he said. In the past, investigators could only scan and analyze the cartridge cases, not the bullets.

Orange County acquired the $250,000 machine last year, Houlihan said.

Bullets collected from the scene of a “shots fired” call last April were later linked to the shooting of a man wounded the leg on Nov. 13 and another shooting on Nov. 22, Anaheim police Chief Raul Quezada said.

In the Nov. 22 incident in the 900 block of North Helena Street, a suspect got into an argument with some people in a car and opened fire, Quezada said. The driver “panicked” and ran over the suspect in the car while trying to flee, Quezada said.

The gun recovered from the scene was matched to the bullet found in the April shooting, Quezada said.

Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said the crime lab has received 20 “hits” from the database so far.

The system “is being used to successfully investigate and solve violent crimes in Orange County,” Hutchens said.

The new technology “is a product of modern technology and law enforcement partnerships,” Quezada said.’

City News Service

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