Homicide: Drive-by Shooting
Homicide: Drive-by Shooting
1.How the incident occurred.
Investigators received a call on the dispatch radio on a shooting incident that took place a few minutes after 8 a.m. According to the officers’ information, the victim was hit by two bullets shot from a moving vehicle. Nobody else was injured in the process. After determining that the shooters had left, the witness called the police as she was scared for her life. She stated that there was no confrontation. She just heard the shooting and hit the ground. She waited until she could hear no more shootings or sound of the vehicle. The eyewitness did not have a clear view of the vehicle or the occupants as she was still some distance from the scene.
What the investigator will do
On getting the information about the shooting incident, the investigator will cautiously speed to the crime scene. It is critical that they arrive safely. Causing an accident in haste to get to the scene may cause unnecessary delays and confusion, affecting the investigations’ eventual outcome. The officer’s first action on the scene will be to observe and record all the activities taking place. They will pack in such a way that we did not disturb the crime scene. They will proceed cautiously to the stage to avoid contaminating it.
The investigators will then observe and record everything that they see, hear, or smell concerning the scene. They will survey the area to discover any potential hazards such as weapons, explosives, and exposed power or gas lines. They will then proceed to investigate the location and condition of the victim. They will observe and determine whether there are vehicles getting or leaving the scene. Later, the investigators will take the identity of all the people on the scene. Further, they will take note of the prevailing weather conditions, arrival time, and lighting conditions. We determined and documents odd objects on the scene but were not supposed to be there and document objects that could have been part of it but were missing.
Interview plans for the witness(es)
Witnesses are broadly categorized into two: victims and People who have information regarding an incident. The victim is the person affected by the crime. In homicides, the victims do not constitute witnesses as they are already dead. However, most crimes are witnessed by one or more individuals as they happen. The eyewitnesses may be relatives of the victim or strangers who happened to be at the crime scene as it unfolded. The eyewitnesses are further categorized as Significant and intimidated/vulnerable. Significant witnesses are the ones who claim to possess information concerning the incident. They may have seen the crime in progress or heard a conversation between the assailants and the victim. Still, other significant witnesses may have heard conversations between the suspects before or after the crime. Vulnerable witnesses are those below the age of 18 years and those who have impairments of some kind.
The handling of witnesses determines the quality of information that the investigator will get from them. Therefore, it is critical to handle the witnesses, including the victim, with respect and dignity. The handling of the witnesses will significantly impact the extent of cooperation they offer the investigators and the prosecution.
To get relevant and credible information, the investigator needs to have a witness management strategy. It usually consists of identification, initial contact, and interview strategies. Investigators need to move with speed to identify potential witnesses and get information while the details are still fresh in their minds. The identification may include reviewing CCTV footage, house to house inquiries, and suspect interviews. The investigator has to plan carefully for the initial contact with the witness. The initial contact has the power to make or break the relationship between potential witnesses and law enforcement and judicial officers.
Preparing to interview the Witnesses
The investigator needs to be thorough while preparing for witness interviews. Preparation ensures that one gets the most out of the process. The process involves
The current state will inform the identification and setting of the interview aims and objectives of the investigations. Therefore, the investigator will need to examine the investigations’ current level of knowledge, including scene investigations, witness reports, exhibits, and other relevant documents. The information on the current understanding of the inquiry will inform the development of the critical topics that need to be covered during the interview process.
Essential topics for investigations vary depending on the crime and the witness’ depth of knowledge concerning the incident. The major topics include:
Further, the investigators should get as much information as possible to enable them to create a profile of the witness. The information includes the witness’ names, age, gender, race, any impairments, and previous and current contact with public services. The investigator should consider the witness’s special needs in case they need other considerations such as interpreters. The investigator should also be aware of the possibility that the witness suffered a traumatic experience and institute appropriate considerations.
The information about the witness profile and the type of offense will determine the interview structure and model adopted. The investigators may decide to record the interview or engage a special interviewer visually. Also, the investigator will decide whether to adopt free-recall or conversation, management models. Free-recall is employed while interviewing a cooperative witness, while the conversation management model is employed if they are hostile.
Regarding practical arrangements, the investigative team will decide the participants during the witness interview, the location, and the duration. The witness is given a choice on where the interview will take place. During the interview, the investigators have to help the witness feel comfortable and contribute effectively. It is critical to creating rapport between the witness and the investigative team.
We will provide safety to witnesses who may feel insecure testifying directly in court. We will consider taking their report through video. Further, we will make other concessions, such as ensuring that there are translators for those facing language barriers. We cannot force witnesses to give the team relevant information. However, we will firmly suggest to the hostile witness that it is a crime to interfere with formal investigations. The hostile witness should note that refusing to divulge material information is obstructing justice. The data they possess could help the team arrest the suspect, probably preventing future attacks from the person.
In case of a drive-by shooting, I expect to collect evidence of the shooting, including bullets, cartridge casing, and victim clothing. Other critical evidence to be collected includes gunshot residue, tire marks, bullet fragments, shotshell wadding, and Sabots. All the materials mentioned above relate to the processes of shooting. After securing the crime scene, I will carefully photograph and sketch a diagram of the scene intact before removing any object from the crime scene. The evidence should be carefully collected, and a marked label replaces its position to indicate its original position. The diagrams, pictures, and physical evidence support the crime scene experts in reconstructing the events during the shooting.
All the items collected at the crime scene are critical for reconstructing the events that transpired during the incident. The bullets, cartridge casing, shotshell wadding, sabots, and bullet fragments will help me identify the exact type of gun used in the drive-by shooting. When we finally apprehend the criminal, the same will support my investigative team and me to prove that it was the exact gun that released the bullet. Each gun has a specific effect on a bullet or a cartridge casing. In effect, a gun’s impact on a bullet’s shell is unique, just like a human fingerprint. Such information is critical during ballistic analysis. All we will need to do once we get the gun is to shoot one bullet and compare it with the remnants collected at the crime scene. The gunshot residue is crucial in determining the distance of the shooter to the victim. The car must have accelerated rapidly to exist at the crime scene. Tire marks will help track down the vehicle and its owner. Drive through involves the discharge of bullets from a gun located inside a moving vehicle. The tire marks will provide clues to track the car.
What type of surveillance methods and techniques will be used?
Surveillance is one of the most effective tools in the hands of a law enforcement officer regarding the prevention of crime. It acts as a powerful deterrence against the commitment of a crime. Also, it makes the process of tracking and identifying suspects easy. Once a crime has occurred, the matter becomes moves to investigations and tracking the people involved. One of the most effective surveillance methods is the three-person surveillance method. In the method, three people are charged with monitoring a suspect. In the method, one officer stays ahead of the suspect, one says behind, and a third is across the street. While the three-person surveillance methodology is challenged to organize and expensive to run, it provides the investigators with high-quality information regarding the case. Further, the surveillance method is more effective. The three officers can easily interchange, making it much more efficient and difficult to identify the officers. Indeed, the officers can run such an operation for a long without detection by the suspect. Therefore, I will organize a three-person’ surveillance to track down and apprehend the suspected drive-by shooter.
While the other surveillance systems are equally effective in tracking down suspects and deterring crime, their usefulness in the current case is limited. For instance, fixed or stationary technical surveillance is not flexible enough for the present case. On the other hand, the undercover operation is less suited for the current case as it does not involve a long-term commitment to solving the crime. On its part, electronic surveillance may not be conducive for the issue at hand, as it would involve first gaining access to the suspect’s information. In effect, the most appropriate surveillance technique for use in the current case in the three-person model.
What will be included in the report
Investigations, especially those involving homicides, are complicated, time-intensive, and often have uncertain results. The current case has a further challenge of being a drive-by shooting with little reliable information to apprehend the killer(s). At the tail-end of the investigations, I will write a report detailing the activities undertaken, the results, and the challenges encountered.
The report will include an introduction outlining the process of information that eventually led to the crime scene. It will then provide details concerning the approach taken to secure the crime scene and the crime scene’s recreation. Further, the report will indicate the preparations that I conducted to prepare to interview the witnesses to gather more information on the case. I will also furnish the reader with details of the evidence collected from the crime scene and how it served to strengthen our investigations. The surveillance methods employed in the current case will be explained, with their strengths enumerated. In effect, the report will summarize the investigations of the drive-through from the initial stages to its finalization. However, it may not go into details. It will provide a snapshot of the entire process.
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