CHICAGO – You’ve heard of the “day in the life of” an interesting person or public figure. Well now, new ballistic technology is helping federal agents and police create a day in the life of the guns being used by criminals terrorizing America’s neighborhoods-- especially those in Chicago.
It’s called the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). Basically when police recover a gun or shell casing from a crime scene, they immediately enter that data into the NIBIN—which now has created a valuable story for tens of thousands of guns still on the streets and those recovered from bad guys.
Basically, when officers recover a gun they can immediately tell when and where it’s been used anywhere in the country.
"Minus this technology, we would never be able to connect those dots, it would virtually be impossible to have those connections,” said ATF Special Agent Dave Coulson.
NIBN recently helped police possibly connect a gun recovered in Chicago to the unsolved murder of a young woman.
In February, 21-year-old Tenisha Mallet, a mother of a 4-year-old daughter, was walking on the sidewalk with friends on the west side of Chicago when someone pulled up in a car and fired at them. Mallet was hit and killed.
“You basically lose like not only your sister, your best friend you grew up with that you would still be with every day,” said Mallet’s sister, Teaira.
Mallet’s murder remains unsolved. Blood still stains the sidewalk where her body fell.
“We have just the names of the people she was with,” Teaira Mallet said. “We don’t know who might have done it. We don’t know who—basically we don’t even know who was targeted.”
A 9-millimeter Glock was recently recovered from and NIBIN indicated it was used in February and in the same district where Mallet was killed. It could be the gun that killed her.
That same gun was also used in another homicide in March of 2016 and four other separate shootings across the city.
The gun is part of an active investigation so police can’t identify who they might have recovered it from but the good news is because of NIBIN that person has a lot of questions to answer, including whether they pulled the trigger in those two murders.
NIBIN technology is giving police a detailed history of guns they otherwise would never have had. The ATF told Fox News that in Chicago alone NIBIN has helped them build dozens of gun cases pending in court right now.
“Every crime scene has a story, every firearm has a story,” Coulson said, “and we are trying to exploit that information as much as we can – especially here in the city of Chicago.”
Matt Finn is a Fox News correspondent based in the Chicago bureau. Follow him on Twitter: @MattFinnFNC