Technology helped nab suspected Phoenix serial killer

Posted: Updated:
New police technology speeds up ballistic investigations. 19 Jan. 2018 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) New police technology speeds up ballistic investigations. 19 Jan. 2018 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. 19 Jan. 2018 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. 19 Jan. 2018 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
Cleophus Cooksey, 35, charged in multiple murders in the Phoenix area. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Cleophus Cooksey, 35, charged in multiple murders in the Phoenix area. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

Great police work, multi-agency cooperation and new technology are being credited for the arrest of Cleophus Cooksey, Jr., a man investigators believe is a serial killer responsible for the murders of nine people.

[READ MORE: Phoenix police attribute 9 murders to suspected serial killer arrested in parents' deaths]

The new technology they are referring to is the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, or NIBIN.

The national program is administered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and allows law enforcement agencies to share information, link cases, and obtain investigative leads in firearms related crimes.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Suspected serial killer Cleophus Cooksey, Jr.]

The Phoenix Police Department has partnered with A.T.F. to have a system set up at its headquarters in downtown Phoenix.

The program involves the entry and comparison of computer images taken of fired cartridge casings left at crime scenes, as well as those from seized firearms that are test-fired by law enforcement personnel.

[TIMELINE: Police piece together crime spree of suspected serial killer]

The system allows for what used to take weeks or longer to take just a few days.

“If a shooting occurs and a shell casing is recovered, the police department collects that evidence and submits it to their NIBIN unit. That NIBIN unit takes a picture of that shell casing and it looks at specific marks that are unique to that firearm. The system gives it a score and that score is what enables us to very efficiently compare that shell casing to the 2.5 million images that are in the library across the country,” said Special Agent John Durastanti, who is in charge of the ATF Phoenix Division.

[CRIME MAP: 9 murders Phoenix police attribute to suspected serial killer Cleo Cooksey]

Durastanti said the arrest of Cooksey is a great example of how the system worked.

“We had two separate leads, matches from two different sets of shootings and we had a firearm that was recovered and when that firearm was traced we were able to determine that that firearm came from one of the earlier victims of the shootings. So, not only did NIBIN bring these shootings together by tracing firearms, tracing, also brought the holistic view and gave the detectives the best understanding of what happened,” said Durastanti.

A $1 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Justice afforded Phoenix the ability to create a Phoenix Crime Gun Intelligence Center, a regional operation for Phoenix and surrounding agencies.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.