The silver Taurus semiautomatic handgun used to kill two police officers in New York City began its journey into the hands of the gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, a felon with a history of mental illness, at a pawnshop here bristling with guns for sale.
It was at Arrowhead Pawn Shop, a sprawling store tucked into a shopping center along a busy commercial corridor in this city of 4,700 people just south of Atlanta, that the gun was last purchased in a legally traceable transaction, according to a police official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation.Although Arrowhead is nearly 900 miles away, New York police officials are familiar with the store, where on Tuesday a yellow, black and red sign in a neon-rimmed window promoted a $279.99 “super buy” for a 9-millimeter pistol. Another window featured a three-word advertisement, just above a notice of a Christmas sale, in bold, yellow letters: “We Buy Guns.”
As recently as 2010, Arrowhead was the leading out-of-state source of guns recovered in crimes by the New York Police Department, according to an article in The Daily News. Georgia is also part of the “Iron Pipeline,” a chain of Southern states with looser gun laws that is responsible for sending a steady stream of firearms into New York and other Northern cities, where there are many more restrictions on who can purchase a gun.Information in the federal database on which gun dealers turn up most frequently in these traces is closely protected, as a result of legislation passed in 2003. But The Washington Post obtained four years’ worth of trace data in 2010 and found Arrowhead was the fifth-largest source of crime traces in the country.Speaking about Arrowhead, a former federal law enforcement official who carried out gun investigations in the South said: “They were like a Crazy Eddie of gun dealers. They had a lot of volume and they did a lot of business.”
On Tuesday, employees at Arrowhead, which is nestled between a store selling school uniforms and a Hibachi Grill Supreme Buffet, refused to discuss the transaction related to the police shooting.“We’re not going to answer any questions today,” an employee said. “Please leave.”Reached by telephone later that day, Arthur Banks, the store’s chief executive, declined to comment.