By Paul Kurtz
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia district attorney today announced the arrest of a man who allegedly bought four handguns for a teenager later accused in a shooting.
It was a relatively minor shooting that took place on Van Kirk Street last October — the victim’s injuries were not life threatening.
But Philadelphia DA Seth Williams has decided to make it a big deal and call for stiffer gun control laws after finding out how the teenaged suspect got hold of his weapon.
“The 16-year-old purchased the gun from a 32-year-old man who he sent to buy four guns for him from a gun store, in exchange for heroin,” Williams (below) said today.
Luke Dercole, 32, was arrested Wednesday night. Police say they found that the weapon belonged to Dercole, who had not reported it stolen or missing.
Police say Dercole admitted to buying the guns for the teen, and that he made multiple purchases because the teen was unhappy with the type of gun he had first purchased.
Dercole has been charged with illegal transfer, corruption of a minor, possession of a firearm by minor, and related crimes. He was being held in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Jonathon Decker, supervisor of the city’s Gun Violence Task Force, says the incident has also caught the eye of the Pennsylvania attorney general.
“Attorney General Kane views this investigation as a perfect case study in why this task force was created,” Decker says. “She’s contemplating and looking very hard at maybe emulating this throughout the state.”
Officials say this prosecution not fall under the new “Brad Fox Law” (see related story) since the purchases were made before December of last year.
There were 324 homicides in Philadelphia last year, nearly all involving suspects who got their guns through a third party.