Father of Washington state teen gunman ‘slipped’ through system: reports

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Attorney: Father of Marysville school shooter believed he could legally possess guns.

The father of a Washington state high school student who killed four classmates before committing suicide last year was able to “slip” through the system to get the firearm his son used, media reports quoted federal prosecutors as saying on Tuesday. Raymond Fryberg, 42, is facing six counts of illegal possession of firearms in violation of a 2002 court protection order that barred him from obtaining guns, an indictment shows. He denied a motion from Fryberg lawyer John Henry Browne that sought to exclude certain information that a tribal police officer wrote on a form when he allegedly served Fryberg with the restraining order. “Now we have 10 to 15 occasions where he was told by authorities he as not prohibited from having firearms”. Warren,File) A federal prosecutor says Raymond Lee Fryberg Jr. “slipped under the screen” when he purchased firearms despite a court order barring him from gun ownership.

Fryberg’s former girlfriend, Jamie Gobin, received a temporary protection order from the Tulalip Tribal Court on August . 19, 2002, and hearings were set first for August . 27 and then for September 10 that year to consider whether to make the order permanent, according to testimony. District Court Judge James Robart and lawyers on both sides questioned about two dozen jurors individually, almost half were sent home based on their answers.

One woman was excused because she works for the Marysville School District, while another was let go because her child is a student at the high school. At the end of the trial “you’ll have to determine if he was ever served by the brother of the woman asking for the protection order at a location that doesn’t exist”, Browne told the jury. On government forms, Fryberg repeatedly stated that he wasn’t the subject of a protection order, despite pleading no contest to violating the 2002 order in 2012, Miyake said. The shooting last year rocked the small city of Marysville and the adjoining, close-knit community of the Tulalip Indian Reservation, of which the Frybergs are prominent members. It also renewed national focus on gun control laws and background checks for gun buyers amid a string of deadly shootings on U.S. high school and college campuses.

Still, the raw emotions left from the shooting were visible in court: Fryberg’s family filled one side of the courtroom, while family and friends of shooting victims lined the other side. That check came back clear, along with at least a dozen other government checks, Browne said. “You can’t get any more thoroughly checked than you are for a concealed-weapon permit,” he said. “Mr. Browne has claimed that Fryberg was never served and argued in the motion that the information should be included because the officer is dead and he can’t be questioned at trial. The investigation into Fryberg’s gun ownership began in October 2014 when “the FBI was trying to determine ownership of a firearm that had come into their possession,” Miyake told jurors, avoiding any mention of the school shooting.

The FBI searched Fryberg’s house and found five firearms “left unsecure, out in the open, at the foot of his bed,” Miyake said, adding additional weapons purchased by Fryberg were turned in by Fryberg’s sister. He told the same agent he “didn’t really pay attention” to questions on forms he filled out before purchasing weapons in 2013 and 2014, Miyake said.

To meet part of its burden of proof, the government must convince jurors Fryberg received notice and had a chance to participate in a hearing before a permanent protection order was issued — which the defense claims never happened. However, that restraining order was never entered into the National Crime Information Computer or state databases that are used to check the backgrounds of would-be gun buyers. According to Heather Anderson, section chief of the Washington State Patrol’s Criminal Records Division, participation in the program to build those databases is voluntary, and the Tulalip Tribes were not participating at the time.

Additionally, government agents stopped Fryberg at least three times while he was hunting, ran his name and determined his guns were legal, Browne said. Browne has accused the government of trying to punish his client for the sins of his son. “He had nothing to do with what happened at that high school,” he said shortly after Fryberg was charged in March.

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