Montell Purter: Crime lab warms up cold cases

Evidence linked teen to at least two shootings

FORT PIERCE, Fla. - A 16 year-old Fort Pierce teen was charged this week with attempted murder in connection with a shooting incident back in March thanks to the work of crime lab scientists.

A teenager on a bike, was shot north of Fort Pierce March 31st.

The victim provides little information to detectives who did recover a bullet.

Then on May 6th, a nearby home was hit with gunfire.

Montell Purter was arrested and charged in that case after a K-9 found a revolver in his home.

"Young people pulling the trigger and its quite alarming," said Capt. Jerry Rothman with the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office.

This week, that revolver was matched to that bullet from back in March at the Neill-Chapin Regional Crime lab in Fort Pierce, leading to more charges against Purter.

In order to determine if two bullets have been fired by the same gun, at the lab, they've got to fire that gun.

Criminalist Mark Chapman says they can't talk about the Purter case specifically, but he gets another revolver to demonstrate what they do.

"A bullet is only one component.  This is the complete cartridge and this is what gets chambered into the firearm, in this case one of the chambers," said Chapman.

A door is closed and Chapman fires two shots into a specially designed water tank to catch the bullets.

Chapman looks at the two bullets under a high-powered microscope.  He's looking for in essence the bullets fingerprints.

"That rifling imparted spin on the bullet as it went down the barrel.  They're asking can you determine if this bullet was fired by that revolver."

Chapman says it's not his job to determine who did what, but figure out what the evidence says.

The crime lab is also working on another shooting case from this week involving a woman shot outside a home in the northern part of St. Lucie County where a firearm and shell casings were recovered.

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