DENVER — Four days after the shooting in Boulder and the grocery store is still a crime scene.
Picture the size of your local grocery store. Pretty big.
The Boulder County District Attorney revealed Friday that investigators still collecting evidence aisle-by-aisle.
"If you picture a supermarket, picture all the shelves, all the product, everything. They're going through every single shelf, pulling everything off the shelves, looking in the walls, and that is going to continue throughout the weekend," said Boulder D.A. Michael Dougherty.
In a case where no one is suggesting police did not catch the shooter, why the need to be so meticulous?
"Is that bullet traceable through ballistic back to the alleged offender's weapon or is it traceable to a police officer's weapon that was fired in the store? All of those questions have to be answered as best they can," Ron Sloan, former director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigations said.
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Sloan explained the evidence collection is about providing proof at a trial.
"That defendant will have defense counsel," Sloan said. "They will challenge the admissibility of every single piece of evidence that is placed into evidence in that case. It's the responsibility of the police in providing that evidence and putting it into context."
He said that even in an instance where there is no prosecution, like Columbine, the evidence is important to understand what happened.
"Even when you don't have a prosecution, there are a lot of questions you have a question about what story that evidence tells," said Sloan.
"A lot of people I know say, 'but there's video evidence, why not just start from there?' And the answer is, our system is premised on these important traditions, that if you're a defendant you have the right to cross examine all the witnesses, contest all the evidence and if you're the prosecution you bear the burden of proof. That's why the Boulder D.A. is taking this so seriously and there are no shortcuts," said Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser (D).
Weiser agreed that the methodical collection of evidence is about the trial. Explaining to a jury the who, what, where, when and how. Perhaps, eventually, leading to the why.
"Every bullet has to be accounted for, has to be handled properly, has to be tested properly. That's how we ensure that the evidence is managed in an appropriate and reliable way, if it's not, that can be contested at trial and can be a failing of the prosecution's case," said Weiser. "I recognize that people are anxious, are impatient, and the answer is: this is all going to take time."
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