Northwestern Student Killed in Senseless Misfire

lucas-quintana-K0mIaYnusPA-unsplash-copy-300x200While much of the U.S. mourned the senseless tragedies in El Paso and Dayton, others with a political agenda pointed out the numerous deaths that occurred over the same weekend in Chicago. These deaths were heavily politicized for two reasons — they occurred in black neighborhoods and Chicago has strict laws when it comes to gun ownership. Second Amendment Rights advocates pointed to the futility of gun control measures while those with a racial agenda hoped to even out the death toll by claiming that blacks commit “just as many mass shootings” as whites. While statistically valid, the argument fails to show the motive behind such murders. Mass shootings committed by whites are generally politically motivated by hatred, while black mass shootings often involve gang violence.

Perhaps one of the most stunning reminders that gun violence is a threat no matter who is pulling the trigger or why they are pulling it, is the recent death of a Northwestern student who was standing with his groceries at a bus stop on his way to a condo that he and his fiance recently purchased.

There he met Deonte Speed, who had chased another man and was firing his gun at him. Speed managed to miss his target entirely but hit the young student, killing him. After hitting the Northwestern student accidentally, Speed continued to chase the other man and fire until losing him in a railroad embankment.

Case Remained Unsolved for Months

The shooting occurred on September 2nd of last year and remained unsolved for nearly a year. Investigators say they were finally able to trace the gun to Speed. They have charged him with first-degree murder. According to police and prosecutors, Speed admitted to having the gun in his possession, but claimed he never pulled the trigger. 

Surveillance footage seems to show Speed passing the man on the street and then turning around to confront him before walking away again. Speed again turns back to the man, this time holding a gun in his hand. The man was standing at the bus stop at the time. Speed hid behind a bank, and waited. He then began firing at the man, but hit the Northwestern student instead. 

Speed claims that the other man also had a gun, but surveillance footage does not indicate that. Authorities were able to find shell casings from 9MM handgun. Eventually, police seized a 9MM handgun and traced it back to Speed. Speed was already in custody on unrelated charges.

Tracing Bullets to Guns

Much of the theory and technology behind forensic ballistics was brought to use by FBI crime labs. While these procedures may be rooted in science, the FBI and police have played fast and loose when it comes to determining exact matches. Like a fingerprint, the match should be exact, not similar. In fact, the science behind the matching was so bad that in 2009, the National Academy of Sciences raised serious concerns that the procedures used by the FBI were scientifically unsound.

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

Forensics are not necessarily as clear-cut scientifically as they seem. Yet police and FBI agents parade experts on the stand in the hopes of convincing otherwise unsavvy jurors that there is no doubt one bullet came from one gun. If you have been charged on this basis, you need an attorney who understands how the science works and why it fails. Call David Freidberg today at  (312) 560-7100 to set up an appointment.

(image courtesy of Lucas Quintana)

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