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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Contact: Public Affairs Division

ATF National Firearms Examiner Academy Graduates the 20th Class of Firearm and Toolmark Examiner Trainees

WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives National Firearms Examiner Academy graduated its 2020-2021 class of 10 men and women with apprentice/entry-level firearms and tool mark examiner skills after a yearlong training program conducted by ATF’s National Laboratory Center. This newest cadre of students was provided training in the fundamentals of firearms and tool mark examination, which serves as the foundation for supervised development into qualified examiners.

Members of the 20th NFEA graduating class include: Shannon Casey, Houston County Institute of Forensic Sciences, Houston; Sarah Gesick, Indiana State Police, Ft. Wayne, Indiana; Jessica Rutkowski, Austin Police Department, Austin, Texas; Stephani Hinshaw, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Topeka, Kansas; Samantha Karner, ATF, Ammendale, Maryland; Xiao Shan Law, New York State Police, Albany, New York; Daniel Quintiliani, Boston Police Department, Boston; Haley Runaldue, Baltimore Police Department, Baltimore; Garett Sugimoto, Kern County Regional Crime Laboratory, Bakersfield, California; and Justin Victoria, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, Toms River, New Jersey.

The NFEA class was in session from Oct. 1, 2019 – Nov. 12, 2021. The class reconvened in June after a 15-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The class focused on laboratory safety protocols as well as ethical standards and principles that govern the admissibility of expert testimony in court. Students received training in the evolution of early firearms, the evolution and manufacturing of modern ammunition, and microscopy and instrumentation. Additional classes covered firearms identification, the manufacture of modern firearms, preliminary examination of firearms, bullet examination and comparison, tool mark examination, comparison and identification, and restoration of obliterated markings. Also included were terminal ballistics, gunshot residue, shot patterns, bullet path analysis and the examination and comparison of cartridges, cartridge cases, shot shells, and fired shot shells.

These graduates, after returning to their local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, will continue their training at their home laboratories for approximately one year. Upon completion, they will be able to independently examine and compare physical evidence related to firearms and tool mark identification; independently reach conclusions and render opinions relating to their examinations and comparisons; and provide expert testimony in a professional and impartial manner. The NFEA’s standardized program is supported by the Association of Firearms and Toolmark Examiners, approximately 60 federal, state, local, and industry partners, with instruction and manufacturing tours. The NFEA has graduated 221 students from 45 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands since its inception in 1999.  


ATF is a law enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of Justice dedicated to preventing violent crime. More information on ATF and its programs can be found at