Yesterday, I was interviewed by Bethany Moore, a KWTX TV reporter in Waco, Texas, about autopsy reports from that “biker gang shootout” you might’ve heard about back in May (it made national news). The clip aired last night, and I managed to capture the live stream, seeing as how I don’t live in Texas and all. Pardon the buffering (you can see a better video here).
While the autopsy results did reveal information about the firearms and ammunition that may have been involved, it’s far from a final verdict about what happened.
For example, the medical examiner wasn’t able to specify the exact type of firearms used based solely on the injuries. That’s good to know for fiction writers.
As far as being able to tell the distance a firearm was away when it fired based on the injuries, that’s tricky. In the video, the reporter mentions the shots were fired from at least four feet away based on the lack of gunpowder/propellant residue in the wound. Emphasis on at least, meaning it could be well beyond four feet. (I don’t recall mentioning that number in our conversation, but I did say it didn’t seem like the wounds were made at point-blank range). Four feet in this case was arbitrary, basically a substitute for “not point-blank.”
That the medical examiner found evidence the bullets used were jacketed indicated to me it’s likely (but not beyond the shadow of a doubt) they were fired by law enforcement. As explained in this post about police firearms, jacketed ammunition is common with law enforcement, usually but not always in tandem with hollow-point bullets.
None of this indicates who was in the right or wrong, which might shine some light on the era of CSI-styled fiction that would prefer it did.