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Controversial Suicide Case Using a Submachine Gun with a Sound Suppressor—The Need of Team Work of Forensic Chemistry and Firearm Examiners

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Evidence materials in a presumed suicide case were studied by a firearm examiner and a forensic chemist. The victim's body with double gunshot wounding in his forehead, a machine gun in the sustained fire mode with a silencer, and four cartridge cases were found. Examinations of the evidence, the case file studies, and experiments dedicated to the case were carried out. Relationships between the placement of cartridge cases and the gun were established using a fast camera. The distributions of gunshot residues on the evidence materials and within the comparative gunshot patterns were studied by means of optical and electron microscopy, X‐ray microanalysis, and infrared spectroscopy. The shooting distance was assessed to be 30 cm or more, whereas the greatest distance that could have been achieved by the victim himself was about 11–13 cm. The obtained results supported the version of homicide rather than suicide.
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Keywords: crime scene reconstruction; forensic science; gunshot residue; infrared spectroscopy; scanning electron microscopy and X‐ray microanalysis; shooting distance estimation; sound suppressor; spent cartridges ejection pattern; submachine pistol

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2018

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