NIBIN Success Story
from the Charlotte Field Division
In the mid 1990s, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NCSBI), entered into a partnership furthering the mission of ATF's National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) Program to reduce firearms violence through the aggressive targeting, investigation, and prosecution of shooters and their sources of crime guns. The NCSBI acquired the Integrated Ballistic Identification System independent of ATF, but each agency realized the need to work together to maximize their effectiveness. The NIBIN Program focuses the capabilities of the law enforcement community (first responders, evidence collection teams, laboratory personnel) to develop intelligence to close cases.
NIBIN embodies teamwork by letting contributing agencies help each other identify shooters. Each firearm leaves unique markings similar to fingerprints on expelled cartridge casings and bullets, and ATF works to get all recovered gun evidence into NIBIN as quickly as possible. Using this information, NIBIN often links seemingly unrelated cases through ballistics evidence from multiple jurisdictions, strengthening the ties within the law enforcement community and helping identify and incarcerate violent offenders.
This is One of our Stories:
Between May 2006 and October 2007, five murders and one non-fatal shooting occurred in Raleigh, North Carolina:
- On May 12, 2006, a customer found Sam Haj-Hussein, a convenience store clerk, shot and killed inside his store. Investigators also determined that Haj-Hussein's van was missing.
- On June 3, 2006, a gunman shot and killed LeRoy Jernigan, a cleaner at a restaurant, and fled the scene in Jernigan's truck. (Investigators later found both Jernigan's truck and Haj Hussein's van within a block of each other in West Raleigh.)
- On April 27, 2007, a gunman invaded Timothy Barnwell's apartment in North Raleigh and handcuffed, hogtied, and duct-taped Barnwell. Barnwell, a Porsche enthusiast and Star Wars memorabilia collector, jumped over the balcony to escape, but the gunman shot him five times. Barnwell later died from his wounds.
- On October 12, 2007, a gunman killed Ricky High, a homeless man and neighborhood handyman, and non-fatally shot an 18-year-old.
- On October 14, 2007, a gunman shot Tariq Hussaid, owner of Bobby's Grocery, during a robbery. Investigators obtained surveillance footage of the shooter, but it was of poor quality.
On November 21, 2007, following a bank robbery, the Raleigh Police Department arrested Samuel Cooper, who dropped a 9mm Ruger while attempting to flee. Cooper had been in prison until 2006 for a 1994 robbery. During his incarceration, he once broke out, car-jacked and assaulted an elderly man, and punched a deputy in the face during his sentencing for the escape.
NCSBI entered the Ruger into NIBIN, which linked it to the slayings of Haj-Hussein, Jernigan, Barnwell, High, and Hussaid. The courts found Cooper guilty of the murders and bank robbery. On April 20, 2010, he received a sentence of life in prison.
How Does NIBIN Make Law Enforcement More Effective?
NIBIN embodies the collaboration of law enforcement for the sole purpose of identifying and prosecuting shooters that prey upon our communities. Its effectiveness hinges upon the timely entry of ballistic evidence, intelligence referrals, and immediate investigative follow up. This program embodies teamwork, collaboration, and transparency.