The reality that Dallas police shooter Micah Johnson bought his AK-47 over Facebook is staggering. The final sale was a 15-minute transaction in a big box parking lot with no background check. Here is how it happened.
Nineteen months ago, Johnson met Colton Crews, 26, and his stepdad in the parking lot of an outlet store in Carrollton, Texas to buy the powerful weapon. Apparently, Crews knew that he was meeting a war veteran who said that he missed the firepower. That’s it.
The deal completely slipped Crews’ mind until last week, when federal investigators tracked him down after the ex-Army reservist killed five Dallas police officers. In an interview with the New York Daily News, Crews said:
‘I don’t even know how I feel about it right now. I have no idea. It’s awful. It’s just bad.’
Crews said he had no idea that Johnson was anything other than a solid citizen and military veteran when they met in November 2014:
‘He’s in a black SUV. [We] get out, shake his hand, introduce ourselves in person. My stepdad actually gets out, thanks him for his service, and lets us do our thing.’
Crews did a brief online search on Johnson and didn’t notice any red flags:
‘He didn’t stand out as a nut job. He didn’t stand out as a crazy person at all. He stood out as just another guy. And he was U.S. service, so he was like your first pick when you’re selling a gun to somebody.’
‘First off, it was my belief he would have passed a background check. He didn’t seem weird in any way, just a normal guy. He seems like he’s 100% on the up and up.’
They made small talk while Johnson checked out the rifle. Crews felt good about the deal, and he needed the money. It seems the vet didn’t hesitate at the $600 asking price. Crews said about selling the weapon:
‘You really wanna know why? To afford plane tickets to go a wedding …. That’s why I sold the gun. The wedding was in Mexico, which is why the tickets were so expensive, which is why I needed to start downsizing my collection.’
Once Crews realized his gun may have been involved in the massacre, he was badly shaken. Now, he expresses no interest in guns. He said:
‘It’s the fact that I feel partially responsible for all this s— that’s happened. That’s it. That’s what it is. … He’s just one guy who bought a gun from me, and he decided to do something completely awful.’
Investigators have not confirmed that the semiautomatic weapon was the gun Johnson used in the sniper attack, even though Crews asked the ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives] agent about it:
‘He said, “All we can say is it was recovered. We’re just finding out everything we can.” He didn’t say it was the one he used. I hope to God it wasn’t. I hope I’m not that close to all this.’
Investigators uncovered a cache of rifles, ammunition, bomb-making materials, and bulletproof vests when they searched Johnson’s home in Mesquite, Texas. However, there is no indication, at this time, that Crews was involved in the Dallas massacre.
Wednesday, Democratic senator of Massachusetts Edward J. Markey called on Facebook and Instagram to prohibit gun sales postings. He also requested information on how these sites address gun sales.
The senator wrote:
‘I remain deeply concerned that gun sales on Facebook and Instagram—or sales posted online but negotiated and concluded offline—may circumvent or violate state and federal laws, resulting in numerous unlawful sales of handguns, assault weapons, and other firearms.’
H/T: New York Daily News.