Five of the six Alabama law enforcement officers fatally shot in 2019 were killed with stolen guns, the ATF said after tracing each weapon.
“Alabama has lost six peace officers already in what has been a heartbreaking 2019. Five officers met their end of watch staring down the barrel of a gun held by someone prohibited by Alabama and federal law from possessing the firearm in the first place,’’ Northern District of Alabama U.S. Attorney Jay Town tells AL.com.
Those killed with stolen weapons were Birmingham Police Sgt. Wytasha Carter, Mobile Police Officer Sean Tuder, Auburn Police Officer William Buechner, Tuscaloosa Police Det. Dornell Cousette, and Huntsville Police Officer Billy Fred Clardy III.
“Crime guns are all too common in Alabama which is why, from the moment I was sworn, I have prioritized prosecutions of felons and drug dealers with guns and we will continue to execute that priority aggressively,” Town says.
Until earlier this year, it was a misdemeanor to be in possession of a stolen weapon worth less than $500. It is now a felony.
In all of the cases of stolen guns, the accused shooters were prohibited from legally possessing a gun
“Thousands and thousands of guns are reported stolen every year in Alabama, not even counting from the gun stores,’’ David Hyche, ATF’s assistant special agent in charge in Alabama, said. “We’ve had as many as 22, or 23, gun stores hit in a year just in Alabama.”
“Guns are absolutely money on the street. Guns are money for dope,’’ he added. “Drug dealers typically will take guns just like money. They’re just liquid assets.”