Associated Press

Ballistics Database Helps Bring Houston Gang War Into Focus

A gang war that authorities say has claimed more than 60 lives in the last six years in Houston didn't come into focus for officials until a federal ballistics database helped link what had appeared to be unconnected killings.

The National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, or NIBIN, is a database that has been around for two decades but has evolved from a purely forensic tool to one that generates investigative leads.

While the database of scanned bullet casings has been successful in cities like Houston, it still faces challenges, including questions about the accuracy of the science behind it.

The database helped solve the September 2018 drive-by shooting death of an aspiring rapper. Authorities say Kenneth Roberson's slaying is tied to an ongoing battle between two gangs.

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