Tracking illegal guns heading into New York

NEW YORK -- There is no bail for the man accused of gunning down New York City Police Officer Randolph Holder on Tuesday night. The suspect, Tyrone Howard, said nothing as he was charged with murder. He has a rap sheet with 28 arrests.

Officer Holder is the 4th officer killed in New York City this year. Most of the murder weapons have one thing in common -- they are illegal.

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NYPD Officer Randolph Holder

NYPD

Fellow officers lit candles on Thursday in memory of Officer Holder.

Officer Holder was shot on Tuesday by a suspect he was chasing. The police say Howard, a convicted felon, was illegally armed with a 40-caliber handgun.

And while the police haven't yet determined where his shooter's gun came from, the guns used to kill the three other officers this year were purchased or stolen from pawnshops in Georgia.

"We have the strictest gun laws in the country, so people have to go outside the state to get their guns. And when you have lax gun laws like down in Georgia, it is easy for people to buy guns down there legally and then send them up here where they are destined to end in the hands of criminals," said Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson.

Last week, Thompson announced a gun ring bust that took 112 illegals gun off the streets. Investigators say the alleged ringleader, Michael Bassier, paid people with clean criminal records in Georgia and Pennsylvania to purchase firearms. Authorities took a surveillance photo of Bassier carrying the weapons in a bag and they secretly recorded him on his cellphone.

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Tyrone Howard.
CBS NY

"I'm selling them the right way and the wrong way...When I'm out of state, like in Atlanta and Georgia and all that, it's all legal, but New York it's completely illegal," said Bassier.

When asked if he was fighting a losing battle, Thompson said, "I don't think that we are fighting a losing battle I think that it is a very challenging endeavor because each gun that we get off the street we potentially save a life."

90 percent of guns found at New York City crime scenes, Thompson says, originate out of state.