A Jonesboro, Georgia woman who bought the gun used to kill Omaha Police Officer Kerrie Orozco was sentenced on Monday.
26-year-old Jalita Johnson was convicted in August after pleading guilty to lying when she bought the gun for her convicted felon boyfriend, Marcus Wheeler, who later used the gun to kill Officer Orozco in May while she was attempting to serve a warrant on Wheeler for his arrest. Wheeler was killed in the shootout with police during which Officer Orozco died from her wounds.
Johnson was given one year of probation, 40 hours of community service and 180 days’ home confinement.
Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer issued a statement Wednesday expressing his disappointment in the sentence. "Illegal straw purchases, like this one, is a well documented manner in which violent offenders obtain their firearms," said Schmaderer. "Straw purchases are a link to the gun violence that has damaged our community over and over, and the court missed an opportunity to make a bold statement."
Authorities say Johnson bought the Glock semiautomatic, a 50-round drum magazine and ammunition from a pawnshop in Jonesboro last April. At the time, she was required to fill out a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives form that requires the purchaser to disclose the identity of the true buyer or transferee of the gun.
Johnson stated on the form that she was the true buyer when in fact she was buying it for Wheeler, who was a convicted felon and couldn't buy the weapon himself. Wheeler provided Johnson with the money to buy the gun and magazine. He also directed Johnson on which gun and magazine to buy.
“The tragic result in this case is a stark reminder of how firearm purchasing laws are designed to protect the public,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn. “Ms. Johnson’s case shows that if you buy a gun for someone else and lie about it, you never know where that gun will end up or what it will be used for. Illegally bought guns not only pose a risk to our community, but any other community where the gun is ultimately taken.”
“This sentence serves as a reminder to all law enforcement that we need to remain vigilant in curtailing the illegal trafficking of firearms in order to protect the safety of innocent civilians,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Carl Walker.