PDA

View Full Version : Who would be in charge of solving a case like this?



andiwrite
02-14-2014, 04:22 AM
I have a two-part scenario I have a question about.

Let's say there was a murder/suicide. The victim is a celebrity of sorts. He did not know the murderer, who shot himself immediately after the murder. The public (and the victim's family) is demanding to know why this happened, and two detectives are assigned to look into the case and try to figure out the connection between the murderer and the victim.

Does this seem correct in such a situation? Would detectives even be assigned to a case of murder/suicide since they already know the person who committed the crime, they just don't know WHY?

Now the second part. Say, after a short amount of time, the detectives have not been able to figure out why the celebrity was killed, and before they can, a bunch of other murder/suicides occur in the exact same fashion. Random people are just picking out seemingly random people (the new cases are not celebrities), shooting them in the street, and then killing themselves. And the number of shootings are increasing by the day.

My question is, who would be in charge of the situation now? Once it had been determined that whatever it is, it's still happening, and more murders will likely soon be occurring, would the case be turned over to Homeland Security or the FBI? Would the original detectives still be able to work on the case? Would something like this be considered an act of terrorism (like suicide bombings) even if it couldn't be tied to any known terrorist groups?

I'm brainstorming a story where all this takes place, and I just need to know how the authorities would handle something like this. Thanks! :)

DeleyanLee
02-14-2014, 04:44 AM
I have a two-part scenario I have a question about.

Let's say there was a murder/suicide. The victim is a celebrity of sorts. He did not know the murderer, who shot himself immediately after the murder. The public (and the victim's family) is demanding to know why this happened, and two detectives are assigned to look into the case and try to figure out the connection between the murderer and the victim.

As long as there is a question of if it was a murder/suicide or a double homicide, the homicide detective(s) would investigate. As soon as the DA is satisfied that it was a murder/suicide, the case would be closed and the cops would stop investigating. That usually satisfies the public. The family can be a different matter.

The police is only concerned about the "why" when trying to build a case. If the perpetrator is dead, then there's no trial, so no reason to go there.

The family might choose to hire private investigators (which could be retired police detectives, or not) to discover the "why" of what happened.


Now the second part. Say, after a short amount of time, the detectives have not been able to figure out why the celebrity was killed, and before they can, a bunch of other murder/suicides occur in the exact same fashion. Random people are just picking out seemingly random people (the new cases are not celebrities), shooting them in the street, and then killing themselves. And the number of shootings are increasing by the day.

My question is, who would be in charge of the situation now? Once it had been determined that whatever it is, it's still happening, and more murders will likely soon be occurring, would the case be turned over to Homeland Security or the FBI? Would the original detectives still be able to work on the case? Would something like this be considered an act of terrorism (like suicide bombings) even if it couldn't be tied to any known terrorist groups?

With the new murders, the police would be involved again. Such cases will normally remain in the local police jurisdiction until and unless something happens so a federal agency will get involved. (There is a list for the FBI, such as crossing state lines, etc. You can probably google it, if you're interested.) Homeland Security gets involved when there's a known or suspected terrorist connection. Bombs doesn't automatically mean terrorists, as far as I know.

As for the original detectives staying on the case, that depends on who takes it over and why. It's possible they could stay on the task force, but it's also as possible they'd be booted off the case.

Hope that helps.

andiwrite
02-14-2014, 05:03 AM
Thanks for your response. There is no confusion about it being a murder suicide. The guy walks right up and shoots the celebrity on the street and then shoots himself a second later. Tons of eyewitnesses. It would actually work better if the FBI and HS don't have to get involved. No state lines are crossed, it all takes place in one [imaginary] American city.

Is it true that the case is always closed when they know who committed the act, though? Like with school shootings, don't they usually go to the shooters house and check computers, look for clues as to why the shooting took place even if the shooter was killed during the attacks?

DeleyanLee
02-14-2014, 05:13 AM
Is it true that the case is always closed when they know who committed the act, though? Like with school shootings, don't they usually go to the shooters house and check computers, look for clues as to why the shooting took place even if the shooter was killed during the attacks?

It's possible, but it would also depend on the department's resources. Smaller cities have less crime (theoretically), thus their officers are able to do more things like that. The bigger the city, the more likely that they won't have those resources.

But, then again, this is fiction. As long as you can sell it to the reader, you can pretty much do what you want.

Happy writing.

melindamusil
02-14-2014, 07:02 AM
Is it true that the case is always closed when they know who committed the act, though? Like with school shootings, don't they usually go to the shooters house and check computers, look for clues as to why the shooting took place even if the shooter was killed during the attacks?

After the Newtown, CT school shootings, there was a brief discussion of closing the case. IIRC, the prosecutor didn't need any evidence - there was no question as to what happened, and the only suspect was dead, and the only question still answered was why. Some of he the city officials wanted to close the case because it would take a significant chunk of resources to continue the investigation, and they questioned if knowing why would really help them in their healing. Obviously this investigation WAS continued, but in cases where the suspect is dead, the case is typically closed.

andiwrite
02-14-2014, 08:01 AM
Thanks for your response. In this situation, I think it will work either way, since only a short amount of time passes between the original murder and the next murders, making it clear that something bigger is happening.

melindamusil
02-14-2014, 08:06 AM
Another thought - with all the paperwork necessary to open and close a case, you should be able to believably get a couple of extra days of the case being technically "open".

cornflake
02-14-2014, 08:29 AM
Thanks for your response. There is no confusion about it being a murder suicide. The guy walks right up and shoots the celebrity on the street and then shoots himself a second later. Tons of eyewitnesses. It would actually work better if the FBI and HS don't have to get involved. No state lines are crossed, it all takes place in one [imaginary] American city.

Is it true that the case is always closed when they know who committed the act, though? Like with school shootings, don't they usually go to the shooters house and check computers, look for clues as to why the shooting took place even if the shooter was killed during the attacks?

It wouldn't just be closed because they knew who did it if there wasn't any reason, no.

Cops want a reason because without one, they may be missing something. If a random person walks up and kills someone they appear not to have known, then kills themselves, that will trigger an investigation anyplace I know of - even if it's on damn tape.

First thing they'll look for is a connection between the perpetrator and victim. If there's no connection to be found, that's weird and then they'll look to explain it. It could be a mentally ill person, or it could be a hit with a suddenly-remorseful actor. It could be part of something larger in a different sense, who knows. Random shit happens, but you want to know it actually was random and not a previous thing gone wrong though they seemed unconnected, or a hit commissioned by someone or whatever.

If it keeps happening, and it's all local, then it's all local unless there's specific reason to think otherwise. Something like that, in which it seems connected, local cops can ask for assistance and request FBI consult.