Arlington police, ATF team up to link evidence to gun crimes

Arlington police are finding new ways to use a crime fighting tool the department has had for a while.

The ballistics testing equipment traces weapons used in crimes and helps investigators link those crimes to potential suspects. The department is now teaming up with the ATF to compare it to the ATF database.

Every gun leaves a kind of fingerprint on shell casings when it fires a bullet. A machine called Brasstrax can identify that fingerprint.

"A lot of the leads get back to the detectives in 48 hours,” said ATF agent Blake Gordon.

APD and the ATF are now working together as part of a new gun crime unit. The state-of-the-art system that IDs the casings can help lead officials to the gun and a suspect.

"That firearm matches casings from some the other two scenes -- now we have a viable lead for a homicide and that shooting, now that you've recovered a gun, you can definitely link that gun to those other 2 scenes,” Gordon said.

This summer a shell casing from a robbery in Fort Worth was traced to a gun police say was used in an Arlington homicide. The link led to an arrest.

"We received a match to the same gun used in a robbery four days prior was used in our homicide offense. Based upon that we were able to get a capital murder warrant,” said Arlington PD spokesman Lt. Chris Cook.

Arlington PD says it is one of 27 law enforcement agencies using this technology and it feels they can make it better with the gun crimes unit.