Feds Arrest Man Who Sold Gun Used to Kill Seattle Police Officer

By Jonah Spangenthal-Lee November 19, 2010

Federal authorities have arrested the man who allegedly sold the gun used to kill Seattle police officer Timothy Brenton on Halloween last year.

From the US Attorney's office:

DAVID DEVENNY, 68, of Olympia, Washington, was arrested today after selling firearms to a convicted felon and a second prohibited person.  According to the complaint, DEVENNY sold the guns to a convicted felon and a person with a domestic violence conviction.  DEVENNY knew that both purchasers were prohibited from possessing firearms because of those convictions.  Both the felon and the person with the domestic violence conviction were working with law enforcement at the time of the purchases in February and November 2010.  At the time of the arrest today, ATF agents recovered 42 guns and $32,000 in cash.  DEVENNY will make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Tacoma at 2:30 today.  Prosecutors will ask that he remain in custody pending a detention hearing next week.

As detailed in the criminal complaint, working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the Seattle Police notified DEVENNY that a gun previously owned by him was used to murder Officer Timothy Brenton on October 31, 2009.  DEVENNY allegedly sold the gun at a gun show in Puyallup.  Investigators believe the gun was sold one week before Officer Brenton was killed.

 “This is about public safety.  Illegal gun sales are a threat to our police and our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  “We will continue to prosecute felons who possess guns illegally.  And we will prosecute the people who put those guns in their hands.”

“The illegal selling of guns not only jeopardizes our entire community, but it is a thoughtless act that needlessly jeopardizes innocent lives,” said Kelvin Crenshaw, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Seattle Field Division.  “The investigation of illegal firearms trafficking is a top priority for ATF.  We stand at the front line against violence, and are whole heartedly committed to pursuing those individuals who would disregard existing federal firearms laws and selfishly feed the illegal supply of guns that impact our streets and communities.” 

According to the criminal complaint, DEVENNY came to the attention of law enforcement while officers reviewed gun sales activity at gun shows throughout the Western District of Washington.  Federal law requires that gun sellers who make frequent and repetitive gun sales for profit become a Federal Firearms Licensed Dealer (FFL).  When a Federal Firearms Licensed Dealer (FFL) sells a weapon, the seller is required to fill out certain forms and conduct a background check.  These forms help law enforcement trace guns subsequently used in crimes.  The forms are not filled out by private sellers.           

Records indicate DEVENNY purchased 16 handguns from an FFL in just one five month period in 2009.  Prosecutors allege the guns were then sold in private sales, with no further records or background checks.  The investigation revealed DEVENNY had bought and then sold dozens of guns at various gun shows without keeping any records.  While private collectors are allowed to sell guns from their personal collection without becoming a licensed dealer, these sales did not comport with the requirements for private collection sales.

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