Suspect bought AK-47 in Indiana
The award for yellowiest reporter of the year award goes to...
That's David Heinzmann at the Chicago Tribune he's email is
Feds were investigating previous gun purchase
By David Heinzmann
Tribune staff reporter
Published March 15, 2006, 11:43 PM CST
Six months before he allegedly killed 14-year-old Starkesia Reed in a spray
of automatic gunfire, gang member Carail Weeks went to Indiana to buy an
Weeks already had been under investigation by federal agents for almost two
months last September because a gun he had previously bought in Indiana had
been seized in an armed robbery arrest, according to law enforcement
But that didn't stop Weeks from going to a suburban Indianapolis gun shop,
showing a fake Indiana state identification card, and walking out with two
handguns and an AK-47-the type of gun used to kill Starkesia on March 3, the
As investigators trace the firearms purchased by Weeks, the emerging details
provide troubling insights into how guns flow into Englewood and other
The murder of Starkesia was followed by the March 11 shooting death of
10-year-old Siretha White, just a few blocks away from where Starkesia was
slain. Siretha was killed by a stray bullet that punched through a front
window of the house where a surprise birthday was being held for her.
The two killings devastated many in the neighborhood and have renewed calls
from Mayor Richard Daley and other elected officials to pass stricter laws
limiting the availability of military-style weapons.
Records reviewed by the Tribune show that Weeks filled out a Federal
Firearms Transaction form in late June, listing his address as an apartment
in Indianapolis and providing an Indiana state ID card to verify his
identity. Weeks, who has a history of arrests, but no felony convictions,
was then able to buy a Hi-Point 9 mm handgun on July 7, according to records
Eight days later in Chicago, Thomas Baskin, 22, was arrested on a South Side
street minutes after he allegedly robbed a man using the Hi-Point gun. ATF
investigators traced the gun back to Weeks' purchase at Don's, a famed
Indianapolis gun store that the gun-control group Americans for Gun Safety
said is the second-biggest dealer of guns that end up recovered by police in
Weeks was never arrested for allegedly supplying the gun, and on Sept. 13 he
walked into Brandi's gun shop in Camby, Ind., a suburb southwest of
Indianapolis. Weeks bought the Romanian-made WASR-10 version of the AK-47,
and two more Hi-Point pistols-a 9 mm and a .45-caliber, according to
Weeks had potentially broken the law by using false information to buy the
guns, and the ATF was investigating him as a potential gun trafficker. It
was unclear why federal agents had not arrested him. ATF officials declined
to comment on the case Wednesday, saying the investigation was continuing.
Indiana law requires a criminal background check run through a federal
database. Unlike Illinois, Indiana does not require a Firearm Owners
Identification Card, a state permit to purchase and possess guns. And like
many states, Indiana has no limit on how many guns a buyer may purchase at
It is illegal to possess a handgun in Chicago, and city ordinance prohibits
gun dealers from setting up shop in the city. However, many guns flow into
the city from suburban gun shops. Indiana is the largest out-of-state source
of crime guns trafficked into Chicago, followed by Mississippi and several
other southern states, according to ATF records. Every year, Chicago police
seize more than 10,000 illegal guns.
Witnesses said that about 8 a.m. March 3, Weeks drove up to the curb in the
6700 block of South Honore Street, according to prosecutors and police. He
allegedly got out and aimed the assault rifle at a man standing on the
sidewalk and opened fire.
The intended target, who police said is the ex-boyfriend of Weeks'
girlfriend, was not hit by the hail of bullets. But Starkesia, who had
stepped to the living-room window to see what caused the noise, was hit in
the head by a stray bullet and killed instantly.
Police have not recovered the gun that killed her, but the description
witnesses gave and the numerous shell casings recovered at the scene are
consistent with an AK-47. The gun was originally developed by the Soviet
army, and is the most widely used military assault rifle in the world,
according to gun experts.
The guns are designed for use by trained soldiers, not for civilians, said
Tom Diaz, a former military small-arms specialist who is now an analyst for
the gun-industry watchdog, Violence Policy Center.
"And we're not talking about military engagement, were talking about some
miscreant out on the streets who now has an incredible amount of firepower,
who is going to-what they used to call 'spray and pray,' " Diaz said.
A week after Starkesia was murdered, a similar tragedy played out just a few
blocks away. Siretha White was at a surprise birthday party given for her at
a house in the 2000 block of West 70th Place. Outside on the front steps, a
group of men, who included gang members and at least one parent of a child
at the party, were hanging out when two cars drove down the street and a man
started shooting from an open passenger window.
Again, the intended targets were not killed, but a 9 mm bullet pierced the
front window of the house and struck Siretha in the head, killing her.
Although some officials have described the gun that killed Siretha as also
being an assault weapon, sources familiar with the investigation said
forensic testing suggests the gun was a Glock pistol that may have been
equipped with a large ammunition magazines.
Sources familiar with the investigation believe that both murder weapons
were equipped with magazines that held as many as 30 rounds. One of the
elements of the federal Assault Weapons Ban, a federal law that was lifted
in 2004, was a prohibition on the manufacture and sale of ammunition
magazines that large.
Critics of the ban said it was an ineffective way to keep assault weapons
out of the hands of criminals.
(That's David Heinzmann at the Chicago Tribune he's email is
Not that it matters, but I sent him an e-mail.
My 5 year old learned her math basics from helping daddy load the 30 round death dealers.
Thanks for writting him. This story seemed like pre 94 stories that got us the evil gun ban to begin with. I would hate to see this type of journalism go un checked this time.
I think its funny that the mayor needed prodding to get an idea in his head about a state wide Assault Weapons Ban. From what I remeber he never stopped trying to get one. And this is just the tragedy he needed to fool people that its needed.
i have emailed this guy and annother like him who wrote a local storry similar to this one.
i have not recieved a reply.
my email was short and to the point, i expressed interest in his article, and asked for any and all sources he used in comeing up with such an article.
funny, when i ask for proof they get quiet, if i want to argue they are all for it
I've almost given up on trying to reason with these people.
yep....blame the evil gun. Not the gang-banger assbag--who just happens to have a long rap sheet--who illegally purchases them and uses them for illegal activities. I blame the state judiciary for failing to keep a known violent felon off the street in the first place, and they should be held accountable for their inaction.
Ya know why the 2nd Amendment doesn't address the difference between citizens and felons? Because back in 1776, if you were convicted of a serious crime, you didn't get a chance to hurt anyone again....you danced the Kickin' Chicken while dangling from a rope in town square.
I still haven't received a reply either. I did get another email with a fact sheet from some antigun group they had a phone number and I called. I left a message for them to call back. They asked what news agency I work for and I told them some shveil about it going on my antigun blog. I think that is where they knew I was looking for the truth. Antigun people call each other ass banging gun grabbers or something like that.
I get the next one to comment.