Chris Murzin Foundation Bridges the Gap Between Tech and Law Enforcement

It took a police detective months of combing through video to identify the car whose occupant shot and killed Chris Murzin in 2021. But with the right software, the search could have been completed in a day.

“That could have helped,” Chris’ widow Christina Murzin said, “to get it out that day instead of three, four months later when (people’s) memories maybe aren’t as clear, or (they) have moved on.”

On Feb. 11, 2021, Chris was gunned down in an apparent road rage incident in broad daylight on I-20. The father of three had been known for his community leadership, advocacy for the special needs community, and devotion to his family. He had been named University Park’s citizen of the year in 2008.

After Chris’ death, Christina put up billboards, handed out flyers, increased the reward through crime stoppers, hired private investigators, and sought legal assistance. Despite her work and the diligent efforts of law enforcement, Chris’ murder remains unsolved.

But through her investigation, Christina brought together a team of experts and learned about technology that she knew could help other families in her situation. In the summer of 2023, she founded the 501(c)(3) nonprofit The Chris Murzin Foundation to bridge the gap between law enforcement and hi-tech companies whose software and data could be used to solve homicides.

Dallas police, Christina said, solve about 70% of homicides each year. That’s better than the national clearance rate, which was 52.3% in 2022, according to the Pew Research Center. But almost one-third of Dallas homicide cases still go unsolved, and the total number of unsolved cases compounds every year.

“Unsolved homicide doesn’t just affect the victims. It affects the communities,” Christina said. “The person that killed Chris is still out there, and what’s stopping him from getting agitated on the highway and shooting another person? If you can get away with murder once, what’s stopping you from doing it again?”

Local law enforcement doesn’t have the knowledge, finances, or time to navigate the rapidly evolving hi-tech landscape, Christina said. And families dealing with homicide are in the dark as well.

“There’s not a ‘What to Do When Your Loved One Is Murdered for Dummies’ book,” Christina said. “There’s no book. There are no guidelines. There are no suggestions. We’re trying to be a resource for families also.”

The foundation hosted its first #tech4truth conference in February, which brought together data broker and software companies and law enforcement agencies, including the Dallas Police Department, FBI, University Park Police Department, and the Dallas District Attorney’s Office.

The foundation has also organized fundraisers, including Pickleball for a Purpose at Williams Park in May. Next on the foundation’s agenda is a Mahjong for a Mission event at the Dallas Country Club in September. Chris’ daughter, Caroline, is spearheading the foundation’s events in Austin, where she recently finished her junior year at the University of Texas.

The foundation’s goal, Caroline said, is to expand and work on cases nationwide. Fundraising is vital because of the expense of hi-tech tools and cost of investigations, which can stretch into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If this had happened to a member of Chris’ family, Caroline said, her father would have been going door-to-door trying to find out anything he could. “Now that he’s gone, we have to step up and take that place and hopefully help other people as well.” 

“I think he’d be proud of us for trying something new to help others,” Christina said. “He would want something good to come out of his death.”

Save the date for the foundation’s Mahjong for a Mission fundraiser from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 24 at the Dallas Country Club.

Visit 4Chris.org to learn about The Chris Murzin Foundation or follow the foundation on Facebook or Instagram

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