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Micro-CT features of intermediate gunshot wounds covered by textiles

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Abstract

The analysis of gunshot residue (GSR) on the clothing and the underlying skin of the victim may play an important role in the reconstruction of the shooting incident. The aim of the present study was to test micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) for the analysis of firearm wounds experimentally produced on human skin covered by textiles. Firing trials were performed on 60 sections of human calves enveloped by a single layer of fabric (cotton or jeans or leather or nylon) and 15 controls consisting of bare calves. Experimental firings were conducted in a ballistic laboratory at three different muzzle-to-target distances (5, 15, and 30 cm), using a .32 ACP pistol (Beretta Mod. 81) loaded with full-jacketed bullets coming from the same production lot (7.65 × 17 mm, Browning SR). The visual inspection revealed the classic pattern of GSR distribution on the fabrics and the skin of control samples, while only a dark ring around the entrance lesion was identified on the skin beneath the fabrics. Micro-CT analysis showed the presence of radiopaque material on all entrance wounds, with a statistically significant difference between cases and controls. No differences were found among specimens covered by fabrics, with regard to the firing distance and the type of clothing. No GSR-like deposits were detected in exit wounds. Our results suggest that micro-CT analysis may be a useful screening tool for differentiating entry from exit gunshot wounds when the covering textiles are contaminated, damaged, or missing.

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Correspondence to Giovanni Cecchetto.

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The study was approved by the Ethical Committee of the University Hospital of Padova (protocol no. 2013P).

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Giraudo, C., Fais, P., Pelletti, G. et al. Micro-CT features of intermediate gunshot wounds covered by textiles. Int J Legal Med 130, 1257–1264 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00414-016-1403-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00414-016-1403-7

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