Forensic Expert Witness: Police Officer Accidentally Shoots Suspect

Joseph O'Neill

Written by
— Updated on May 17, 2016

Law Enforcement Expert WitnessIn this case, a police officer accidentally discharged his firearm while in the process of apprehending a suspect in the state of Idaho. The police officer had apparently subdued the suspect after a long car and foot chase through the use of less-than-lethal weaponry. Despite appearing to be incapacitated by the less-than-lethal weapons, the suspect allegedly continued to resist the officer while he attempted to place him in handcuffs. It is at this point that the officer’s  firearm discharged, striking the plaintiff in the back and and killing him almost instantly. In spite of the officer’s claim that the shooting was accidental, a forensic science examiner hired by the state claimed that there were multiple sources of DNA on the officer’s gun.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are you able to perform DNA testing on a weapon to determine identity of a shooter?
  • 2. How accurate are these tests?
  • 3. Have you ever tested DNA off of a firearm?
  • 4. How long have you been performing these tests?

Expert Witness Response E-008999

I worked with the DNA unit in a state forensic lab for over a decade and have worked as a private DNA consultant since 2003. I have processed thousands of DNA evidentiary, exemplar, and validation samples within my career and have written hundreds of DNA reports. I have specifically reviewed firearm DNA cases more than 100 times in the past and I am very familiar with the process. I am happy to review this case on behalf of the plaintiff.

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