News24

One weapon used in French Alps shooting

2012-09-10 20:12

Annecy - Only one weapon, a 7.65mm automatic pistol, was used in the French Alps shooting that left four people dead last week, a source close to the investigation told AFP on Monday.

The revelation followed initial analysis of 25 spent cartridges discovered at the scene of the murder and bullets retrieved from the corpses of the four victims.

The high number of cartridges found had led to speculation that there might have been more than one shooter.

The 7.65mm calibre is one used in a range of "relatively old, even outdated", medium calibre pistols which are easy to conceal, according to Yves Gollety, the president of France's Chamber of Gunsmiths.

First developed by American gunmaker John Browning, the 7.65mm calibre has been used for automatic pistols including the Walther PP, widely used by police forces around the world, and the Mauser, developed for Germany's armed forces.

It was also used for Unic model issued to French police in the 1950s and 1960s and numerous weapons manufactured in the former communist states of eastern Europe, Gollety added.

Forensic specialists are able to establish whether different bullets came from the same gun by microscopic comparison of traces created by their passage through the barrel of the weapon.

This ballistic fingerprint may also help investigators establish where the bullets came from and whether the pistol had been used in other crimes.