New crime gun intelligence center could help prevent shootings

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A new grant means Wichita is now set to get a Crime Gun Intelligence Center this fall. The hope is it will help prevent gun crimes and lead to arrests.

Ruben Acosta was shot in 2017 at his restaurant in Delano and is hopeful the new center will help get guns out of the hands of criminals.

“We have a lot of guns on the street. And in the wrong hands. And we need more to protect the city,” said Acosta.

The man who walked into Ruben’s in 2017 shot Ruben and told him he was going to die. Ruben pulled his own gun and hit the suspect twice.

“And after my incident I carry my weapon all the time. I have my concealed weapon license and you know I carry all the time ,” said Acosta.

District Attorney Marc Bennett says a certified firearm examiner at the new Crime Gun Center will help track and find those carrying guns and shooting them. Gun shell casing analysis can take weeks right now to come back from the KBI in Topeka.

“We are doing a paradigm shift with adding technology,” said Bennett. “We are now working towards prevention and not so much reaction.”

Bennett says Wichita does a good job convicting criminals. But he says prevention is the goal with things like the new Crime Gun Center.

“The KBI does a good job now getting us results,” said Bennett. “But with more tech we can look into new things to tie suspects to crimes. So if get things entered in hours, not weeks, we can look at shell casings three days later and say I don’t know who did this the first day because nobody came forward. But the second day we gather evidence, now I have two things to connect. That’s how you build cases.”

Bennett says he just got back from a conference where law enforcement from different cities were sharing information. And Bennett says analysis can not only move investigations faster, it can help with prevention.

Bennett says if they look at shell casings more quickly, they may find suspects who have been shooting, but not killing anyone. And that can be important evidence in prevention.

“Get the info into the system,” said Bennett. “Knowing that we get more information and we plug in information in real-time so we get the information and plug it in. Get it out to the field in real-time maybe before the end of business so somebody can go, what happened last night is related to what happened this afternoon. Let’s go figure out where this is coming from.”

Ruben says he has had 16 surgeries after being shot twice by that suspect who is now serving prison time of more than 60 years.

“I just got a new hip but I can’t stand for more than five minutes at a time,” said Ruben. “They did a great job with my case. It’s hard for me to work. I do not cook anymore. Yes we still have food Wichita loves. But people miss my cooking. They tell me that.”

Ruben says he will continue to carry his weapon. But he is hopeful police have the right tools on the way to prevent gun crimes.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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