ATF unveils new gun tracing van to use on Baltimore shooting scenes

Posted at 6:21 AM, May 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-03 06:42:12-04

It was parked in front of city hall proudly, like a neighbor showing off their new car in the driveway.

It was capped off with a choreographed press conference where the mayor, feds and police all hailed the new National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, or NIBIN van and how it could help Baltimore's fight against escalating violent crime.

"What we are saying today is that we are preparing to end this violence in Baltimore,” Mayor Catherine Pugh said, “This will cut down on not days, but even hours in which we will be able to deal with this issue."

The mayor means tracing crime guns, now in record time.

Take yesterday's shooting scene near Coppin State University; multiple spent casings strewn on the street, a 19 year old was shot several times.

In theory, and now maybe in practice, the new NIBIN van could make that scene and process those casings to see if the firearm is a match generating a lead detectives could now have in hours and not days or weeks.

"The bottom line is that it means solving violent crimes. It means solving homicides and it means instead of waiting days, weeks or months to be able to have the intelligence to arrest a shooter, it means that we can do it and provide that intelligence to the police officers and agents to do it within hours," said Special Agent in Charge of Baltimore’s ATF field office Daniel Board.

ATF says the leads can result in stronger charges before a suspect is released on bail or to arrest in the first place.

The van is equipped with all the software needed to run those searches, even test fire a seized gun to study the unique markings of the firing pin.            

The technology is not new, Baltimore Police even have access to it here in Baltimore but what this van does is speed up the process...bringing the technology to the crime scene.

But it is only here for one month on a trial; still, Commissioner Kevin Davis believes it will prove its worth.

Enough he hopes, to convince the city for a permanent version.

"I think it is more than a tool. We are going to prove this concept as something worthy of our best efforts and when we prove it, prove its worth, that is when we take the next step,” Davis said.

Baltimore is the first city to try out this new ATF van.

It will be here for about a month and then move on to Chicago.

ATF says it will try to bring it back again later this summer.