May 4, 1970 bullet hole explained by Crime Scene Forensics class

Liana Evrard

Laser proves where historic bullet landed

Professor John Saraya, instructor of a Crime Scene Forensics course, inserts a laser ballistics trajectory device into the bullet hole in a panel of “Solar Totem #1,” located outside Taylor Hall. The statue was in the line of fire during the May 4 shootin

Credit: DKS Editors

Television makes crime scene investigation look like a walk in the park. Students in the Crime Scene Forensics class learned otherwise yesterday with the help of a bullet fired May 4, 1970.

“In the real world, it isn’t that easy,” the class’ instructor John Saraya said. “TV shows glamorize it and shortcut it.”

Yesterday evening, Saraya showed his class how to use a laser ballistics trajectory device, which uses a laser to determine the historic bullet’s path.

Saraya began by placing two yellow rods in a bullet hole in the Don Drumm sculpture near Taylor Hall and the May 4 Memorial. He positioned the rods to match the angle indicated by the oval-shaped hole, holding them in place with modeling clay. He then used the laser to extend a line out in the same angle and direction as the rods.

To make the laser visible, Saraya misted the air with a spray bottle. The water droplets reflected the laser, showing the spot in the grass where the bullet landed almost 40 years ago. This particular bullet did not hit anyone, Saraya said.

Saraya spent 12 years with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation Crime Scene Unit, “before TV shows made it sexy.” He now works with the Special Investigation Unit, in addition to teaching Crime Scene Forensics as a special topics course in Justice Studies.

Contact student politics reporter Liana Evrard at [email protected].