The Science of a Police Shooting / by Charisse Domingo

 Note from Henry Sires mom as she listening to the bullet trajectory expert explain how all bullets were found in the vehicle except for one -- which was in Henry.

Note from Henry Sires mom as she listening to the bullet trajectory expert explain how all bullets were found in the vehicle except for one -- which was in Henry.

Several experts and scene reconstruction analysts presented in the trial Henry Sires. Sergeant Sheriff Herman Leon reconstructed the small bumping between Dep. Randall's front bar and Henry's Oldmobile back at the scene on Swagger Road in the East Hills. The analysis was important because it locates where Henry’s car was and where it went, as well as confirmed that the vehicle corroborated Henry’s testimony that he was traveling slowly down the road. The Sergeant presented how based on the scuff marks, he was able to determine the movement of Henry’s vehicle. Scenarios were presented in the form of photos, documenting every possible movement of both scenarios. And based on the evidence presented, it seems undeniable that Deputy Vandergaff was not in harms way or in fear of his life or safety. In fact, the scenarios placed Deputy Vandergraff at the right of the Oldsmobile while driving downhill. That conclusion is supported by the trajectory of the bullets into the side and back of Henry’s car.

Deputy Sheriff Taylor proceeded to present the bullet trajectory on Henry Sires Oldsmobile. From the reported six shots fired, DeputyTaylor only found evidence of 5 bullets in the green Oldsmobile, as the sixth was in Henry. One bullet was found lodged in the steering wheel and Deputy Taylor suggested that another bullet may have shattered the back rear panel window. Deputy Sheriff Mario Ledesma, who is now Detective working with the CSI team, collected blood samples from the interior driver door panel, steering wheel, center console, Henry's cell phone, floor on driver side, and driver seat. Blood that was shed after Henry Sires' near death.

Henry’s attorney’s expert was a scientist who used math-based scene modeling to come to his conclusions. He shows that Vandergraff’s testimony about what he sees and hear and when only makes sense if he was in a place that puts him out of the path of Henry’s vehicle. He shows in diagrams how Henry’s car would be driving by Deputy Vandergraff while the deputy was shooting.

When the prosecutor cross-examines the expert she has no questions that challenges his work or thinking. Frustrated, she thinks she finally has landed on a question that will strike a blow to his credibility, “Isn’t it true that the defense is paying you to be here?” The expert responds, “No, I am hear on my own dime.”

- Jose Valle