Cops to examine Comstock bullet

Crime lab will enter its information into a national database.

by James Nord

The stray bullet that broke a Comstock Hall window early Monday morning has a new home.

The Hennepin County SherriffâÄôs Office Crime Laboratory Unit  will examine the expended ammunition for forensic clues. Its characteristics will also be entered into a national law enforcement database to determine if its parent gun has been used in any known crimes.

âÄúNo two people have the same fingerprints,âÄù University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said. âÄúNo two firearms really lay the same markings on a spent bullet or cartridge.âÄù

Crime labs can typically determine key characteristics about a fired bullet including the brand and type of ammunition, but itâÄôs rare to find a fingerprint on a spent round. Miner said the bullet appears to be from a handgun.

Processing the bullet will likely take up to two months, depending on the labâÄôs case load. The SherriffâÄôs office crime lab is one of 174 law enforcement agencies nationwide that participate in the database, which is used to solve unrelated crimes that involve the same gun.

Miner said itâÄôs unlikely the analysis will turn up much.

âÄúAbsent other information, I think itâÄôs going to be a difficult case to solve,âÄù he said. âÄúI donâÄôt know that weâÄôll get extremely usable information from the results.âÄù

University police believe the bullet was shot from the west bank of the Mississippi River. They havenâÄôt searched for casings along the bank, but are reviewing videos from the sparsely located security cameras in the area.

Miner said Monday that itâÄôs unlikely someone was targeting the Comstock resident. The bullet broke two panes of glass and fell onto the window sill, likely indicating it was traveling slowly, Miner said.