MS gun dealer sued in Chicago police death - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MS gun dealer sued in Chicago police death

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BYHALIA, MS -

(WMC-TV) - The family of an off-duty Chicago police officer-killed with gun provided by a Byhalia, Mississippi pawn shop sued the dealer.

Thomas Wortham IV just returned from Iraq after serving in the National Guard when he was shot outside his home.

The gun used to kill an off duty Chicago police officer was sold from a pawn shop in Marshall County back in 2007.

A new lawsuit claims the owner was negligent in selling the firearm to a man who was supplying a gun trafficker with ties to gangs.

Ed's Pawn shop lies in a rural area outside Byhalia, Mississippi. A gun sold at the store made its way to Chicago where it was used to kill Police Officer Thomas Wortham IV.

In a federal lawsuit Wortham's family says owner Ed Archer should have never sold it to the buyer.

"We're demanding justice so no other family has to face what we've faced," said father Thomas Wortham III.

Archer is being sued for negligence. Three years before the 2010 murder, a man named Michael Elliot bought three guns at the shop.

He was paid to buy the guns for Qwai Gates, who authorities said would sell the guns to gangs. Gates is in jail for gun trafficking.

"Selling lethal weapons that you know are being sought after by criminals, you have a special duty to use extra care," said John Lowy of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Archer said he feels for the family, but claims employees had no way of knowing. He said Elliot's name cleared a background check. The lawsuit claims the transaction should have raised red flags because Elliot was a first time buyer who paid $1,500 in cash for the three guns.

"We must do the most we can to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals," said Wortham III.

The store's owner said he has not been served yet, so he will get with an attorney to look over the lawsuit before making any official comment.

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