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In Jack Reacher, based off of the Lee Child novel, One Shot, one of the key threads Reacher pulls on that convinces him of Barr's innocence is that shooting from the parking garage was an incredibly bad tactical position with the sun in the wrong direction, a lateral field of fire, and ample opportunity to leave evidence compared to firing from a van on a nearby bridge where the sun would be behind the van, the targets would be stacked up in a narrow horizontal space, the brass would be caught inside the van, and there would be an easy egress by pulling back into traffic. A point is made that shooting from the garage would require an inhumanly perfect performance, including the one "miss" to provide an undamaged bullet to be traced as evidence. Both methods of shooting are shown at least twice in the film. The original novel, as best I remember, and can figure out by quickly browsing through an electronic copy from the local library, does not have a second shooting location. There are some physical evidence traces in the garage, but it's also indicated that one of the officers involved in the investigation planted evidence to point to Barr.

So, ultimately, the question is, was the shooting done from the garage, or from the bridge?

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The parking garage

It's clear from the novel, and to my mind the movie, that the shots were made from the parking garage.

The novel opens (as does the movie) with an unidentified man parking up.

First Street opened out and became slightly shabby again. There were bars and dollar stores. Then a parking garage on the left. Then yet more construction, where the parking garage was being extended. Then further ahead the street was blocked by a low wall. Behind it was a windy pedestrian plaza with an ornamental pool and a fountain. On the plaza’s left, the old city library. On its right, a new office building. Behind it, a black glass tower. First Street turned an abrupt right angle in front of the plaza’s boundary wall and ran away west, past untidy rear entrances and loading docks and then on under the raised state highway.

But the man in the minivan slowed before he hit the turn in front of the plaza and made a left and entered the parking garage. He drove straight up the ramp.

There was no barrier, because each space had its own parking meter. Therefore there was no cashier, no witness, no ticket, no paper trail. The man in the minivan knew all that. He wound round the ramps to the second level and headed for the far back corner of the structure. Left the van idling in the aisle for a moment and slipped out of the seat and moved an orange traffic cone from the space he wanted. It was the last one in the old part of the building, right next to where the new part was being added on.

One Shot - Lee Child

The bridge is alluded to because, that's where the shots should have come from IF the shooter had been a complete professional and was interested in not getting caught.

In the novel, the "bridge" is an elevated section of highway which is perhaps why you could not find the reference.

There was no barrier, because each space had its own parking meter. Therefore there was no cashier, no witness, no ticket, no paper trail. The man in the minivan knew all that. He wound round the ramps to the second level and headed for the far back corner of the structure. Left the van idling in the aisle for a moment and slipped out of the seat and moved an orange traffic cone from the space he wanted. It was the last one in the old part of the building, right next to where the new part was being added on.

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  • Thank you. That's what I suspected, but given that it segues straight from the shootings to the (later discovered to be overseen by the corrupt investigator) investigation, it seemed as likely to be a depiction of the belief of how the crime took place, much like later flashbacks. I've seen a few people claim that they even had Charlie's actor playing the part of Barr in those early shots to sell the idea that it was a replacement, but I'm bad enough with faces that I do not see that. – Sean Duggan Oct 28 '20 at 13:39
  • One key problem caused by the movie version is the setting being moved from a small town to a large city. This makes particular locations hard to match. But the clear story in both is that part of the evidence Reacher uses to exonerate Barr is the bad choice of location. There's plenty more (Barr has parkinsons! which the movie underplays). – matt_black Nov 2 '20 at 16:16

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