Trooper’s killer may have bought gun at show, records show

  • Sun Sep 9th, 2012 5:42pm
  • News

Associated Press

PORT ORCHARD — Recently released records show that the felon who shot and killed Washington State Trooper Tony Radulescu in February likely inherited the murder weapon from his father or bought it at a gun show.

Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced the .40 caliber Smith &Wesson to its last documented sale, at a Monroe gun show in 2009, The Kitsap Sun reported, citing documents released by the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

From there, it changed hands at least twice without documentation, the ATF determined. The second time, a man who bought the gun in Monroe told agents he’s 99 percent sure he later sold the weapon to Joshua Blake at a Port Angeles gun show. Blake shot and killed the trooper on Feb. 23 during a traffic stop. He used the same gun to kill himself later that day.

The seller’s name and hometown were not included in the report. He described himself as a private collector, not a licensed dealer, and told agents he was “committed to following the law and tries to comply with all regulations.”

He described his process to agents for selling guns at the shows, including filling out a receipt, checking ID and signing a form declaring the buyer was not prohibited from having guns. But he couldn’t find a receipt for the sale of the Smith and Wesson.

And when asked if Blake mentioned during the sale that he was a felon and not allowed to possess firearms, the seller said: “Absolutely not.”

An ATF agent “explained to him the value of holding onto those records so he wouldn’t have to remember the different sales,” the documents say.

The man told agents that if he “somehow broke the law by helping Blake obtain a firearm, he would face the consequences willingly,” ATF agents reported.

But citing an account from one of Blake’s acquaintances, the ATF’s report also notes that it could have been Blake’s father who bought the gun, and that Blake might have inherited it when his father died about a year before the shooting. It’s also possible that Blake and his father attended the Port Angeles gun show together.

Six people were ultimately charged with rendering criminal assistance for their roles in Blake’s flight from law enforcement before he killed himself. Five were convicted of that crime, with a sixth convicted of making false statements to a public official. Each was sentenced to jail or prison in lengths varying from six to 14 months.