Detectives investigating the Doug Carlile murder have seized more than 20 firearms from a garage in North Spokane, and one of them might have been the weapon used to kill Carlile.
Now it will be up to the State Crime Lab to match the guns to shell casings and bullets found at the crime scene.
A co-worker of Ted Suchow, the suspect arrested earlier this week for Carlile's murder, led police to a stash of weapons which included three .45 caliber semi-automatic pistols. Carlile was shot twice with a .45 caliber pistol.
The Washington State Patrol Crime Lab in Cheney has already helped to identify Suchow as the suspected killer in the Carlile case by finding his DNA in a glove left behind at the murder scene. Now forensic scientists will be testing those pistols found in that garage in the hopes of identifying the murder weapon.
"In order to do our examination, we need to be able to produce known samples to compare evidence samples to and we fire into the water tank to recover the bullets," Firearms examiner Glenn Davis said.
Davis then transfers the bullets and casings from the test firing to the comparison microscope to see if they match evidence found at the crime scene.
"We would take the known bullets and compare them to each other and look at all the lands and grooves to make sure they match. We would remove one and then put the evidence bullet up and do a similar comparison to see if the lands and grooves match," Davis said.
In the Carlile case, detectives recovered both bullets and seven casings.
Davis will likely be able to tell Spokane police if they've recovered the murder weapon because ballistic markings are unique to the guns that fire them.
"Time and time again we are able to correctly associate a cartridge case or a bullet to a particular part or barrel," Davis said.
The Washington State Patrol is not in the position of confirming if those handguns recovered earlier this week have arrived at the crime lab in Cneye but once they are it will one of their top priorities.