GLENDALE, Ariz. – The bandits who killed a U.S. Border Patrol agent may have been killed with guns bought in the Phoenix area.
New documents from the office of a United States senator clearly links the guns found at Agent Brian Terry’s murder scene to a store in Glendale.
Terry’s family says they are outraged. Brian’s mother, Carolyn Terry, says from their home in Michigan, “It never leaves our mind. It’s like looking at a picture, talking to a picture. Like ‘Brian, tell me what happened, tell me what happened someway’.”
No arrests have been made in Agent Terry’s death in the desert near Rio Rico in southern Arizona.
U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley released documented evidence that guns found at Terry’s murder scene were purchased in Glendale and that agents with the Federal Project Gunrunner Program may have known about it.
Carolyn says, “Our son was killed with a gun sold right here in the United States.”
Grassley has sent letters to the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Bureau and the U.S. Justice Department demanding explanations.
In his most recent letter he wrote, “ATF agents told my staff that the agency allowed the sale of assault rifles to known and suspected straw purchasers for an illegal trafficking ring near the southwest border.”
Terry’s mother says federal authorities have told her the same thing. “He told me then on the phone that the guns retrieved at the scene had been sold in the United State.”
Records obtained by Grassley’s office support the link. The serial numbers of two AK-47s sold at Lone Wolf Trading in Glendale match the numbers on the guns found at the scene in Rio Rico.
The documents suggest the ATF was tracking the suspected straw buyer for months before he bought those AK-47s.
Former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton says, “The question is when do you stop the operation. When do you have enough evidence? When do you need to say it’s time to pull the plug?”
Charlton says he has seen sting operations like Project Gunrunner in action. “Every day you allow those investigation to go forward, you’re at risk of someone getting hurt.”
The ATF had no comment on these allegations Thursday night. Senator Grassley’s office also declined an interview.
The Justice Department has not responded to Grassley’s latest letter but last week the assistant attorney general wrote in a letter that allegations the ATF have knowingly allowed the sale of guns to stray buyers is false.