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cdahl
08-09-2012, 10:55 PM
Hi, everybody! I'm super new to the forums (but so glad I found it. Lots of helpful stuff here!) but my question is this:

If police responded to a 911 call about hearing gunshots and figured out the house it came from and there's two men there, one on the floor hardly recognizable due to all the gunshots he's gotten, the other man is perfectly fine. The woman is screaming that the man killed her boyfriend. What would happen?

I figured that the police would arrest the man (his fingerprints are found on the weapon... BTW, how long does it take for that to come back?) and take the girlfriend down for questioning. Then the girlfriend would be released, right? And the other man held in a cell for probable cause?

Anyone that can tell me what would be the real procedure, I would appreciate it. Feel free to ask me any questions if I explained poorly, I need all the help I can get.

Artifex
08-09-2012, 11:55 PM
First of all, I am not an expert on these matters, just an "enthusiast". I believe the police would take both the man and the woman for questioning. Meanwhile, the forensics would go through the crime scene carefully. They would probably ask for fingerprints and DNA from both. I imagine they would also test them both for gun powder residue. They would not get the results immediately. Depending on the tests and the lab, they would get the results in a few days or weeks. They would probably get some early crime scene investigation results quite soon though (such as cause of death, number of shots, where the shots were fired from etc), and they could compare those to the answers given by the suspect(s) in the interview.

It is possible they would hold the man after the questioning if they had enough evidence to suggest he did it, but they may let them both go. Or even hold them both if they had evidence to suggest they did it together. That would depend a lot on what happened in the questioning.

If you are interested in learning about how police work, there are several shows on TV, for example, which give you some idea. There are also books on real crimes, which may be helpful. (That's how I've learned about all this. :))

Summonere
08-10-2012, 07:15 AM
In a nut shell, something like this, maybe:


Look for other potential threats upon arrival at scene. (This includes the woman.)
Disarm the obvious potential threat
Separate that guy and the woman for separate on-scene interviews about what happened.
Tend to the victim.
Call for support and ambulance.

Some of these things, and the order in which they occur, will depend on how many cops respond to the call, and the timing of their arrival.

What will happen without question, and in the order presented, are 1 and 2. (So I was taught, anyway which doesn't mean I'm a cop, just a guy who took a class taught by one who didn't like all the goofy errors in cop fiction.)

Whether or not the armed man, the seemingly unarmed woman, both, or neither gets arrested will depend upon what the cops discover during their initial interviews and examination of the scene.

My own experience with something remotely, remotely similar was that no one standing went to jail. The bloody guy on the floor did.

Meanwhile, we have a few cops active and retired on here somewhere. Maybe they'll chime in and correct my misconceptions. :)

Lawfire
08-10-2012, 08:14 AM
If police responded to a 911 call about hearing gunshots and figured out the house it came from and there's two men there, one on the floor hardly recognizable due to all the gunshots he's gotten, the other man is perfectly fine. The woman is screaming that the man killed her boyfriend. What would happen?
I think Summonere covered it well. The officers would check the rest of the house for other people and/or threats.

Once the scene was secure, more information would be sought by officers on scene. Who called 911, how many calls were received. In all but the smallest departments, detectives and crime scene people would be called out to the scene very quickly. Detectives and/or supervisors would take over a serious scene like this as quickly as possible. Smaller departments would likely seek aid from neighboring departments along with county and state agencies.


I figured that the police would arrest the man (his fingerprints are found on the weapon... BTW, how long does it take for that to come back?) and take the girlfriend down for questioning. Then the girlfriend would be released, right? And the other man held in a cell for probable cause?Arrests would be based on the information gathered. Fingerprints could take quite some time to come back. Large city departments with access to their own crime labs would get results more quickly than smaller departments that rely on state labs.



Some of these things, and the order in which they occur, will depend on how many cops respond to the call, and the timing of their arrival.
This is key.

In the above list I think #3 would move to the end of the list, unless the victim is obviously deceased.


Whether or not the armed man, the seemingly unarmed woman, both, or neither gets arrested will depend upon what the cops discover during their initial interviews and examination of the scene.Definitely. Neither would be free to leave (in custody), so they would likely be read their Miranda warning once the scene was secure and before they were questioned (other than basic scene safety type questions - "Is there anyone else here?" etc...).

cornflake
08-10-2012, 10:53 AM
Hi, everybody! I'm super new to the forums (but so glad I found it. Lots of helpful stuff here!) but my question is this:

If police responded to a 911 call about hearing gunshots and figured out the house it came from and there's two men there, one on the floor hardly recognizable due to all the gunshots he's gotten, the other man is perfectly fine. The woman is screaming that the man killed her boyfriend. What would happen?

I figured that the police would arrest the man (his fingerprints are found on the weapon... BTW, how long does it take for that to come back?) and take the girlfriend down for questioning. Then the girlfriend would be released, right? And the other man held in a cell for probable cause?

Anyone that can tell me what would be the real procedure, I would appreciate it. Feel free to ask me any questions if I explained poorly, I need all the help I can get.

Ok, so the cops walk in and there's one guy shot full of holes on the floor, one guy... standing around? and a woman screaming he killed her bf?

You don't say what the guy is doing or where the weapon is.

The first thing they do, presuming there are two cops on the scene, is secure the scene and radio for an ambulance and, presuming he's dead, detectives, a watch commander, coroner, possibly a forensic team, whatever their dept's procedure is.

Both people are likely handcuffed or placed in a car - unless he's admitting he's the shooter? You're not clear on this.

If the cops don't know what happened (there's no way for them to know, they cannot see fingerprints on the weapon, that's not their deal at all), they'll presume everyone is guilty and wait for the detectives to sort it out.

Then it depends on what anyone's story was. If it's simple, like the guy admits it or the guy had a beef with the bf or whatever, it's likely that she'll be released after some questioning, either at the scene or in a stationhouse. If they're blaming each other, it's a different thing.

As for forensic stuff, fingerprints (though this too depends - if they all touched the gun, like she says she tried to grab it, or picked it up, it's pointless to bother - also if they let her go at the scene, they don't have her prints so pointless to bother.), GSR (gunshot residue) is the most likely thing done, and dna would be meaningless and moot in this, as in many cases (it's a tv trope that it's used for so much).

As for how long that stuff takes, depends on the department. Though again, fingerprints would only likely come up if they're each claiming the other did it and claiming they didn't touch the gun and easier to just do the GSR but if they just do, can be whatever. A piece of evidence is tagged, sent to the lab, waits in line, in general.

Peter Graham
08-10-2012, 01:04 PM
Reading between the lines, it looks to me as though your plot needs the female character to be released, even though she has quite possibly set the whole thing up.

The police would want to speak to everyone present at the scene and if both man and woman was blaming the other, there is a chance that they'd both get hauled in, at least until enough evidence came to light for the police to decide who was a suspect (or suspects) and who was a likely witness.

Regards,

Peter

WeaselFire
08-10-2012, 05:05 PM
Contrary to movies and a lot of fiction, unless there's an obvious crime, arrests don't usually happen immediately. Even if suspects are taken into custody, they may be released for days, weeks, even months before being charged.

As for the actual process, our department would clear the scene, making sure no threats existed, securing any weapons before anything else. Then fire/rescue/ems would take care of the victim, with an officer present. Witnesses/suspects would be interviewed, sometimes detained, sometimes taken to the station.

Also, I'm in Florida. Shooting in self defense is a strong protection, as in the recent "Stand your ground" case(s) in the news. That claim could mean the DA does a completely separate investigation before charges are filed.

Keep in mind that we're all guessing at the circumstances here, and with your very basic description, none of us will get this right. Contact your local police, or those in the jurisdiction of the story, and ask them.

Jeff

cbenoi1
08-10-2012, 09:49 PM
http://www.amazon.com/Police-Procedure-Investigation-Writers-Howdunit/dp/1582974551/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344620916&sr=8-1&keywords=police+procedure+for+writers

http://www.amazon.com/Howdunit-Police-Procedure-Investigation-ebook/dp/B00506VMZ6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1344620916&sr=8-2&keywords=police+procedure+for+writers

http://www.amazon.com/Police-Procedural-Writers-Guide-Howdunit/dp/0898795966/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1344620916&sr=8-3&keywords=police+procedure+for+writers

http://www.amazon.com/Just-Facts-Maam-Investigators-Investigation/dp/089879823X/ref=pd_sim_b_5

-cb

ironmikezero
08-11-2012, 11:10 PM
Lots of good advice, and generally accurate... Of course, it may be a bit different (but not much) depending on the jurisdiction.

Be aware that contacting the authorities in the jurisdiction in which you propose to site the crime (for some first hand advice and guidance) would be an effort well spent. Just be candid and explain that you're doing your due diligence/research and striving for accuracy - trust me - the guys on the job appreciate that and can be very helpful.

Take the time to get it right - it will be noticed.