HAMMOND, Ind. — A forensic expert in northwest Indiana says it’s possible to find the source of a falling bullet that fatally struck a 13-year-old boy.

Hammond police told the Post-Tribune (http://trib.in/2tMxzvs ) that they believe Noah Inman was playing basketball on July 1 when he was struck by a bullet that was likely fired into the sky by someone nearby. He later died at a Chicago hospital.

Charles Steele, a forensic lecturer at Purdue University Northwest and adjunct instructor at University of Illinois-Chicago, said detectives must reconstruct the scene by determining where people were standing. They can then figure out the bullet’s trajectory by analyzing where the bullet entered and exited Noah’s body before hitting the ground.

Steele said the bullet’s trajectory will be more difficult to figure out because Noah collapsed after being struck. A bullet’s path may be altered by bones or bodily fluid so it makes it difficult to determine its trajectory beforehand, he said.

Police may not identify a specific location, but a trajectory can give them a search radius, he said.

“Most of the cases I’m aware of, the shot was within a mile,” Steele said. “But if you even think of, let’s say a mile radius, around here, how many people is that?”

The odds of being struck by a falling bullet “are astronomically small,” Steele said.

Two detectives are working around the clock and leaving no stone unturned in the investigation, said Lt. Steve Kellogg, a spokesman for the Hammond police department.

Funeral services for Noah are scheduled for Friday.


Information from: Post-Tribune, http://posttrib.chicagotribune.com/

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