Shelby Co. (ECWd) –
The power of the Freedom of Information Act is only as good as the public body’s willingness to be honest with the production of records. Knowing that, we have learned to request key documents in a manner that boxes in the public body based on information we already have in hand. After multiple FOIA requests pertaining to the illegal sale of seized guns in Shelby County, it’s clear a criminal investigation was in order, and even more clear someone needs to be held accountable.
Since the Forensic Auditor coined the term Shelby County Special as it relates to payroll, we are going to coin the term Shelby County Shuffle as it relates to the shuffle being done with guns.
In a 2020 request for evidence seized in one particular case, a list of 32 guns was provided and that record reflects those guns were seized in October of 2017 by then-deputy Shaun McQueen. The problem is the inventory provided in our initial 2019 request did not contain 8 of the guns listed on the seized evidence from 2017 which are highlighted in the link. Considering they were seized in 2017 they should have been on the inventory list in the original request. The fact they were missing from inventory was part of the initial criminal complaint being investigated by the authorities.
Shelby County Shuffle
Comparing the list of ‘sold then recovered’ guns with the current inventory provided by the current sheriff, we find that one of those guns is no longer in evidence and there are no records for any disposition of the missing Swiss Schmidt 7.5 Swiss Ruben M1911, highlighted in the document.
More troubling is the fact the current inventory provided by Sheriff McReynolds indicates weapons on his current inventory now include 8 guns that were part of the seized weapons in 2017 but were missing from the inventory provided by former Sheriff Koonce. That indicates those guns have magically been shuffled back into evidence.
Following the public records provided, it appears a shuffle took place, and clear a gun is in fact missing. Considering this matter was being investigated by the ISP, it does not surprise us to see weapons getting returned once they realized they were being investigated.
The fact one of those guns is missing indicates additional problems for the Sheriff’s office and a county board member.
According to page 131 of the ISP investigation report, it was alleged that the Chairman of the Sheriff’s Committee confirmed there were no missing weapons. There is no mention of who that was, but we understand it would have been either Gary Patterson or Kay Kearney. More disturbing in the report is that the ISP reports “Most, if not all, of the firearms, were purchased by SCSO employees”. Most, if not all? So the ISP did not confirm who actually made the purchases of the sold guns? If “most” were purchased by SCSO employees, who purchased the remaining guns?
Additionally, Sheriff McReynolds reported to us that all guns are accounted for according to his deputy in charge of evidence and the forensic auditor.
Unless the Sheriff’s office can document the whereabouts of the missing Swiss Schmidt rifle it appears the ISP report and auditor confirmation may have been based on limited information. This is not surprising because if the person doing the inventory is not aware of ALL the documents outlined above they would have no way of confirming the missing gun.
- How did 8 guns magically shuffle back into inventory that were in fact missing from the initial inventory record provided by former Sheriff Koonce?
- Was the return of those guns an attempt to “un-rob” the bank so to speak?
- Where is the Swiss Schmidt Rifle listed as one of the guns sold at Locked and Loaded and then recovered after our request for records?
- For those alleging there are no guns missing, can you account for the Swiss Schmidt Rifle that was recovered but not on the current inventory list?
- Why was the receipt book for the gun sales destroyed in the middle of an audit and criminal investigation, which, according to the Secretary of State, violates the law?
- When will Shelby County Sheriff’s Office employees be held accountable for violating the Counties Code by participating in a Sheriff’s sale of seized guns?
- Why do the receipt records from the sales conflict with deposits and funds refunded for guns returned? (Yes, more articles coming)
- When will the Attorney General make a charging decision on what is clearly a violation of the law?
As it stands, there are a lot of unanswered questions, zero accountability for numerous violations of our laws, and there is a gun missing according to their own records.