Massachusetts Cop Forum banner
1 - 1 of 1 Posts

· MassCops Angel
121,617 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
By Joe Meyer
Columbia Daily Tribune

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Federal authorities have traced the gun that was used in the 2005 slaying of Columbia police officer Molly Bowden to an unlicensed gun dealer in Iowa, leading to the seizure of hundreds of firearms.
Columbia police provided the serial number of the pistol to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Rick Evans shot Bowden on Jan. 10, 2005, during a traffic stop in south Columbia, then shot himself the next day after shooting and wounding another officer. Bowden died from her injuries a month later, becoming the first Columbia officer killed by gunfire while on duty.
"We really wanted to find out where this gun came from, and the best agency to do that was ATFE," Columbia police Capt. Brad Nelson said. "We're just real happy with the work they put into it, which was helpful in identifying who sold the gun that killed Molly."
Federal agents traced the handgun, a Smith & Wesson .380-caliber semi-automatic pistol, to Bela Hummel, 73, of Eldon, Iowa. It is not believed that Hummel sold the gun to Evans.
"I believe a lot of other people had that gun before it got to Evans," Nelson said.
Nelson said police just wanted to make sure whoever sold the gun was held accountable. Police submit the serial numbers of every gun they recover during investigations, but they made a special request that federal agents investigate the gun used to kill one of their own.
According to a civil forfeiture opinion issued on Oct. 22 by U.S. District Judge Ronald Longstaff, Hummel started his unlicensed firearms dealing around 1990, growing his personal collection of about 60 guns into a business inventory of nearly 700.
The federal investigation led agents to the Rutledge Gun Show in Rutledge, a Scotland County town near the Iowa border, said J.D. Underwood, resident agent in charge the ATFE field office in Des Moines, Iowa.
Underwood said undercover agents purchased guns from Hummel at the gun show, where he operated a booth. A March 2006 search of Hummel's property resulted in seizing 684 firearms of all different types. "It was basically a gun store without being licensed to be a gun store," Underwood said. "The weapons were legal in commerce; he was just dealing illegally without a license."
Federal statutes require anyone selling firearms for "livelihood or profit" to have a license, Underwood said. He added that unlicensed dealers selling guns are targeted by customers who might not legally be able to buy guns because of previous convictions or drug and alcohol problems.
Last week, a federal judge ordered Hummel to forfeit the firearms, which are valued at about $100,000. Hummel was sentenced to three years of probation because of his age, health and lack of criminal record, according to the office of the U.S. attorney of the Southern District of Iowa.
In lieu of a fine, Hummel agreed to abandon more than 50 personal firearms, the release said. Hummel is also prohibited from possessing any firearm in the future.
"There's not 700 firearms on the street that people can potentially commit violent crimes with," Underwood said of the forfeiture case, which he described as an unprecedented seizure for the southern district of Iowa.

Wire Service
1 - 1 of 1 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.