Volume 48, Issue 5 (September 2003)
Vacuum Collection of Gunpowder Residues from Clothing Worn by Shooting Suspects, and Their Analysis by GC/TEA, IMS, and GC/MS
Experiments were conducted to collect gunpowder (propellant) residues from shooters' clothing by vacuum and to analyze them by gas chromatography/thermal energy analyzer (GC/TEA), ion mobility spectrometry (IMS), and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). The residues were collected on fiberglass and Teflon filters using the portable vacuum sampler, all supplied with the IMS instrument. Several solvents were examined for the extraction of the propellant components from the filters. The extracts were centrifuged and/or filtered, concentrated by evaporation, and analyzed without any additional clean-up procedure. Based on the results of the study, an operational method for analysis of gunpowder residues was introduced into casework without changing the present operational technique for gunshot (primer) residue (GSR) analysis on clothing implemented by the Israel Police. In the modified method, the clothing is first sampled by double-side adhesive-coated aluminum stubs (the tape-lift method) for GSR analysis (the existing method), followed by vacuum collection for propellant residue examination. The issue of interpretation of the analytical results is discussed.