ALBUQUERQUE, NM–Investigators are trying to determine what led an unborn child to fatally shoot his twin with a .38-caliber revolver during an altercation in their shared Albuquerque womb Monday.
According to police, the twins' mother, Evelyn Alpert, 34, was awakened at 4 a.m. by the sensation of a scuffle in her uterus, which she dismissed as "routine kicking." Approximately 30 minutes later, Alpert heard and felt three pistol shots.
A subsequent forensic ultrasound revealed that the unborn gunman–identified as a five-inch-tall male Caucasian of slight build with no eyes or hair–shot his brother twice in what eventually would have become his heart.
After a tense four-hour standoff, the unborn gunman threw out his weapon when police threatened to induce labor. Police spokesmen have denied that the use of tear gas or forced C-section was ever considered. Alpert was unharmed in the shooting, with two of the bullets lodging themselves in the victim and the third passing harmlessly through the birth canal.
The shooter has yet to emerge from the crime scene, but a court-appointed lawyer has said that the fetus will surrender himself peacefully upon his post-partum separation from Alpert sometime in early October.
"This whole tragic chain of events is hard to comprehend," Albuquerque mayor Jim Baca said. "Where did we as a community fail these unborn boys? Could their parents have done a better job of conceiving, carrying, and pre-natally educating them? And how did the fetus get access to firearms?"
Police officials say the shooter used a revolver registered to his father, Lee Alpert, who may have left the firearm within reach of his wife's womb. No charges have been filed against the man at press time.
According to Albuquerque D.A. Eugene Billups, though the assailant is legally recognized as a fetus, he will be tried as an infant. Pretrial hearings begin next week, and ultrasound technicians will not be allowed in the courtroom.
"This is hard to take," Billups told reporters. "These kids were no more than babies."
Offering the Alpert family "my deepest sympathy and support in this difficult time," President Clinton said he is redoubling his efforts to pass tougher obstetric gun-control legislation.
"Last year, I called upon Congress to require trigger locks on handguns and place metal detectors at the entrance of every womb," Clinton said at a White House press conference. "Such laws may well have saved the life of that unborn child. I now ask Congress to do the right thing and pass that legislation, as well as a measure extending the waiting period for firearms beyond nine months. We must keep handguns out of the unformed hands of our nation's fetuses."
The fetus, following the advice of his attorney, has offered no comment on the shooting.