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Feds Easily Tracked Alleged Straw Purchase Of Gun Used To Kill Chicago Police Officer Ella French, But Stopping Such Purchases Isn't So Easy

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The gun pipeline to Chicago has been a focus of attention from the White House to City Hall lately.

In the shooting this past weekend that killed Chicago Police Officer Ella French and critically wounded her partner in West Englewood, Jamel Danzy of Hammond, Indiana was hit with federal charges on Monday, accused of buying the gun that was used in the shooting.

With amazing speed, the case against Danzy traced where one of the guns used to shoot the officers came from - and the lapses that allowed it to get in the wrong hands.

Jamel Danzy
Jamel Danzy (via Instagram)

As CBS 2's Chris Tye reported Tuesday, the weapon was a Glock model 44, .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol. Within 12 hours of the Saturday night shooting at 63rd Street and Bell Avenue, police had a thorough history of the weapon - and the flaws that they say put serial number AFBZ467 in the hands of Eric Morgan – one of the two brothers now charged in the shooting.

Weapon Used
Investigators say this gun -- a Glock Model 44--was used in the fatal shooting of Officer French.

Three years before Morgan was charged with this weekend shooting, he was convicted of armed robbery near Madison, Wisconsin - complicating future access to guns.

So in March of this year, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Morgan leaned on a friend from Hammond - Danzy - to buy him a sport-utility vehicle and a weapon.

Both were used Saturday night, authorities say.

At a Hammond gun shop, Danzy filled out a firearms transaction record required by the Department of Justice.

His crime, federal authorities say, was committed when he answered question 21(a):
"Are you the actual buyer of the firearm?" That came with the words, "WARNING: You are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person."

He checked yes.

Outside of the restaurant in Hammond where Danzy works, the feds questioned him Sunday afternoon. Federal authorities said in the back seat of a car, "Danzy admitted that he was lying." on question 21(a).

That is the mechanism that made him what is known as a straw man - buying a weapon for someone who cannot.

Tye asked Juan Cloy, a former FBI Task Force agent and an expert on the gun pipeline, what good the system is doing if a paperwork clerical box check allows people to make straw gun purchases like Danzy is accused of doing.

"It's not doing a whole lot of good," Cloy said.

He also said there is no way to target and shut off the valve for straw men.

"No, there's not a real way to do that. Just say, 'OK, I checked the box,' and you know, from there, there's really no checks and balances for that," Cloy said. "No. No sir."

Danzy told authorities that Morgan paid him to purchase the car, but it does not appear he was paid to buy that gun for him.

They were friends of several years.

Danzy, the feds say, knew that Morgan could not buy a gun himself, and that Morgan drove from Chicago to Indiana to pick it up last March.

Morgan and his brother, Emonte, are both charged in the shooting – authorities said it was Emonte Morgan who fired the shots that killed French and wounded her partner. Bond was denied for both Morgan brothers in court on Tuesday.

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