Post Shooting – What Else to Expect

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Post Shooting – What Else to Expect

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There is an awareness initiative to ensure gun owners understand what to expect if they are involved in a shooting.  For instance, you will most likely be put in handcuffs.  You will most likely be taken to the police station and interviewed.  You may spend at least one night in jail while the investigation begins.


Here are some other things you may not have thought of.  Your computer and phone may be seized.  What happens if it turns out the police believe you knew the person who was shot; or It was determined  that the suspect and you lived in the same neighborhood The police may wonder if there was bad blood between you two.  Even if it was an accidental shooting, the police will want to investigate to prove that theory.


In an increasing percentage of the time the first items seized will be your computer and cell phone, even if you’re the suspect who was shot.  Why is that?  An overwhelming majority of us have at least one computer and a cell phone and use them for a variety of reasons.  This is where an investigation may begin after interviewing witnesses. These sources often are used to begin to put the puzzle together that may have led to the shooting; to corroborate other evidence.


Case in point. A 58-year-old Edwardsville, KS man walked into a Costco in Lenexa, KS November 26, 2017 with a gun and was threatening and yelling at customers.  An off-duty Kansas City, KS police officer shot and killed him.  Now, where do the investigators start to piece together what prompted this man to walk into a major retailer with a gun?  They will search his residence and will seize any computers and cell phones.  Possibly this man’s computer or cell phone will provide some clues or confirm what investigators determine through their investigation.


These days our computers store an enormous amount of data.  And not just data we proactively save.  Internet searches often reveal what the focus was leading up to the event.  Documents and articles viewed and or downloaded, even if deleted, are stored in the recesses of computer memory are accessible by forensic investigators and are a piece of the puzzle, that when put together with internet searches, etc., may support an investigator’s case.


Instant messages you sent through a computer and phone, internet group conversations, chat sessions are all accessible by an investigator trained to find and report such information.


All the elements for motive and opportunity can be revealed.  Planning the crime, records of purchases related to the crime, i.e., weapons, ammunition, and protective gear, etc.


These are the reasons why computers and cell phones are one of the first property seizures.  They can support the investigator’s theory, or they can be the key evidence in the case.


Jim Clark

J. M. Clark & Associates

Digital Forensics / Private Investigations