Defendant: Luis Meza
NIBIN Impact: NIBIN linked three shootings in Denver to a .40-caliber handgun. Because NIBIN connected the shootings using forensic science, the judge allowed the three shootings to be tried concurrently, increasing the evidence permissible in court and reducing the defendant’s ability to claim extenuating circumstances for a murder charge.
Defendant convicted of:
- First-degree murder
- Vehicular eluding
- Possession of a schedule 2 controlled substance
- Assault or threatening of a peace officer
- Illegal firearm discharge
Sentence: Life in prison with no possibility of parole
On May 30, 2011, an unknown person fired about nine shots from a pickup truck into a crowd of people attending a local Denver night club. The people were fighting outside the club. Although no one was injured, the gunfire caused damage to nearby buildings. Denver police officers collected seven shell casings to a .40-caliber handgun and identified a suspect to the shooting known only as “Lou”, who was believed to be a gang member.
On Aug. 13, 2011, a bar employee tried to break up a fight between two people. One of the people, known as “Lou”, pulled out a pistol and fired a warning shot. He agreed to leave but then circled the bar in his vehicle a few times and then fired four shots toward the bar, causing damage to the building. Denver police officers collected the five shell casings, which were entered into NIBIN and linked to the May 30 club shooting.
On Sept. 3, 2011, Denver Police responded to a fatal shooting at a night club at about 1:45 a.m. Witnesses described the vehicle as a dark-colored pickup truck. Officers searching for the vehicle found it occupied. The driver, Luis Meza, attempted to evade the police but was quickly stopped and detained. Police recovered a .40-caliber handgun from the car. Witnesses positively identified Meza as the shooter, and he was arrested.
NIBIN linked the fatal shooting to the May and August shootings. Because NIBIN demonstrated the same gun had been used in all three crimes, as well as other similar case details, the judge allowed the shootings to be tried concurrently.
Thanks in large part to NIBIN, Meza was sentenced to life in prison without parole.