This course has been designed to give students information about evaluating, interpreting, and reconstructing a shooting scene. The units within this course will cover a general overview of firearms/ammunition and their components, bullet path reconstruction theories and techniques, cartridge case ejection patterns, evidence collection, and firearm/ammunition testing, as well as gunshot wound examination. The course will also discuss the analysis of a shooting scene, and the appropriate mathematical equations to include within the analysis.
Cost: $0-225. This course takes 24 hours to complete, on average.
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:
Differentiate between different categories of projectile impact
Calculate the angle of impact from an impact site
Describe how vehicle windows and windshields react to bullet impact
Discuss the variable conditions of ejection pattern tests
Describe the different analytic methods used for GSR
Understand the holistic approach to shooting reconstruction
Recognize the distinguishing characteristics of different ranges of gunshot wounds
Discuss the factors affecting the appearance of gunshot wounds
Course Structure and Schedule
This is a non-credit course offering 4.36 ILUs. (What is ILU?) Average completion time for the course is 24 hours. The course cost is $225 per registration (with the exception of public lab employees, law enforcement, public attorneys, and federal employees – please see "Registration Information" below). A certificate of completion will be issued to students successfully meeting course requirements.
Table of Contents
Unit 1: The Principles of Shooting Reconstruction
Unit 2: An Overview of Firearms and Ballistics
Unit 3: Ammunition
Unit 4: Mathematics
Unit 5: Bullet Holes and Impact Sites
Unit 6: Bullet Path Reconstruction
Unit 7: Shooting Incidents Involving Motor Vehicles
Unit 8: Cartridge Case Ejection Patterns
Unit 9: Gunshot Residue and Other Trace Evidence
Unit 10: Shooting Scene Analysis
Unit 11: Evidence Collection
Unit 12: Firearm and Ammunition Testing
Unit 13: Gunshot Wounds
Unit 14: Shooting Reconstruction in Court
There are no prerequisites for this class. A printable version of the course content is available in PDF format in the course library for future reference. Course readings are also available in PDF format.
Mozilla Firefox (recommended) or Internet Explorer
Adobe Acrobat Reader
Macromedia Flash Player
(Free software plug-ins are available in the Getting Started area of the course.)
Basic computer skills required (i.e. turning on your computer, navigating to websites, etc.). The course is user-friendly but support is available if needed.
Anthony Iten is a Forensic Science Technician with Forensic Science Initiative. He graduated from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota with a Bachelors of Arts degree and Forensic Science Certificate. Anthony has spent time working in the Drug Chemistry and Latent Print sections in the St. Paul Police Department Crime Lab in St. Paul, Minnesota. His responsibilities include online course development and assistance in training professionals in the forensic field. He is currently developing a Latent Print online course. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-293-5186
Robin Bowen is the Assistant Director for the Forensic Science Initiative, a program that develops scientific resources, outreach opportunities, and professional training for forensic scientists and related professionals. Her primary responsibilities include coordination of continuing education programs, management of grant funded projects, and correspondence of progress to the National Institute of Justice. Bowen is the author of Ethics and the Practice of Forensic Science. She is a former advisory member of the Outreach and Communication Interagency Working Group (IWG) under the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee (NSTC) on Forensic Science. She is also on the Editorial Advisory Board for the revised edition of Encyclopedia of Forensic Sciences. Bowen is the primary developer of the Forensic Educational Alliance, an initiative to offer a variety of forensic science continuing education courses online. She has an undergraduate degree in Forensic and Investigative Sciences and a graduate degree in Secondary Science Education. Robin is the online course instructor for Ethics in Forensic Science, Fibers and Textiles for Forensic Science, and Transition to Leadership. Contact: Robin.Bowen@mail.wvu.edu, 304-293-6214
Please read below to determine your eligibility. If you have any eligibility questions please contact Forensic Science Initiative at FSI@mail.wvu.eduBEFORE you register. Registration is accepted year-round for this course.
For general FAQs for the FSI online courses please click here.
“This was an overly thorough class with lots of useful information. The class catered to each and every student with or without experience. It was presented properly with attention to detail and was by far my favorite class so far!”
"I just completed 2 online certificate courses, Shooting Reconstruction and Forensic Photography. I feel both were very informative for the audience it aims for. Hopefully, the school will keep up the good work and continue to offer such top notch classes to the forensic fields."
“By way of introduction, I am Robert Hebert, a 16-year veteran with the Port of Lake Charles (La.) Harbor Police Department; I also served some years as a Navy Master-at-Arms.
It's delightful and encouraging to find WVU Professional Development courses in time when budget restrictions are so tough on departments' training. The courses are simple to follow and accessible at the most convenient times. They are in-depth and focus on the particulars that a lab specialist, crime scene evidence collection specialist, investigator or first response officer need to know.
I've completed Forensic Questioned Documents and Bloodstain Pattern Analysis; I'm currently enrolled in Death Investigation and Shooting reconstruction.
All of these things, a first responder officer needs to know. In a larger department, this information would help the first responder prepare the scene for chief investigators, and make those officers (first responders) more valuable in the event they might be needed to help collect evidence (as would be the case with fragile evidence). In a small department, often the first responder is the chief investigator. So, that in itself says it all: we never know when we might be thrust into a position whereby we must collect the evidence, and all the particular follow-ups.
I'm so appreciative of WVU's contribution to the law enforcement and forensics community. The information is invaluable and most timely. I've encouraged my fellow officers to explore these great courses. Keep up the great work!”
“I have been in the field of Law Enforcement and Forensics for over 25 years. I have amassed thousands of hours of training during that period. Having participated in three forensic programs offered by WVU, I wish to comment on the experience that I have had. The courses are very well constructed, and the goals are reasonable and attainable if you stay with the process. The instructors are very knowledgeable, and are willing to help on any issue. I have participated in many different courses using different formats in the way the courses were taught. My WVU experience was one of the best I have had in my career. The program should be used by as many people in the field as possible.”