Monday's Shooting Is A Painful Reminder To One Mother

By: Robert Borrelli
By: Robert Borrelli

There is a system in place to track who owns firearms.

But there are ways around it.

Another Elkhart mother who went through the same tragedy 13-and-a-half years ago, sees too many parallels to this week's death.

Terri Thompson shows her granddaughter the family Christmas tree. "This was Joey's when he was a baby," she says, pointing to an ornament.

On August 3rd, 1993, 13-year-old Joey Haskett was shot and killed by a 12-year-old friend who got a hold of his parents' unsecured, loaded handgun.

"It just brings back a lot of memories, a lot of pain," Terri explains. "If the adult, the owner of the gun, would have kept it locked, this little girl's death would not have happened. If the owners of the gun in my son's case would have kept it locked, my son would not be dead."

And gun locks are readily available.

At Midwest Gun Exchange they give them away.

But after a shooting, tracing a gun does not always work.

If you buy a gun from a dealer, you need to fill out a form.

Brad Foster says, "It is currently two and a half pages of information."

It is a system that tracks guns from the maker, to the distributor, to the retailer, then the consumer.

That information is written in books, or computer files.
"The problem arises when John Doe, who purchased that firearm, took it to a gunshow, or to a local hunting camp or to his neighbor and sold that firearm and did not record all that information. He would be the last person that firearm could be traced to," Foster says. "After that, then there is no tracing on that firearm."
Elkhart Police hope to accurately trace the gun came from Monday's shooting.

In a tragedy all too familiar to Terri Thompson she says, "I'm not setting blame on anyone, I don't want anyone to think that. But, I just want an awareness to come that tragic incidents like this could have been prevented."

As in all cases involving a gun, Elkhart police requested a trace through the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Investigators are using that information along with several tips to track down the history of the gun used in Aaliyah Joiner's death.


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