MEDFORD, Ore. – A newly-laid tombstone sits next to a magnolia tree at the Perl Siskiyou Cemetery. The stone marks the grave of Alysa Bobbitt and stands a monument to a tragic court case one year ago.
During that trial, Grants Pass resident Jon Meyer Jr. Was charged with accidentally killing Bobbitt, who was just five years old. Meyer had apparently been using a fully automatic rifle as a crutch to get up from his couch when he accidentally pulled the trigger. Nine rounds fired through the floor and into the apartment beneath, killing Bobbitt and wounding one other, Karen Hancock.
That case is long closed, but the gun Meyer had been holding has now spawned something even deeper – a firearms trade investigation.
“During that investigation it was discovered that Meyer was involved in the Straw purchasing of firearms for other individuals,” said Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters.
Meyer, authorities discovered, had been buying guns from federally-licensed dealers and illegally selling or trading them to others.
And he wasn’t the only one.
That lead inspired a local and national law enforcement pursuit, unveiled what authorities say is a massive straw purchasing ring, and, as of today, resulted in the arrests of 26 people.
“We took a lot of people off the street and got them out of this community,” said Winters.
Authorities say those people weren’t just involved in gun purchasing either. In total, the interagency team racked up 140 counts for things like prostitution, drug trade, racketeering, and even attempted murder. The offenses are serious enough to place each of the offenders in prison.
Winters also says the investigation is ongoing, with five more arrest warrants remaining to be served and a number of other suspects on the “radar.”
Family members of Alysa Bobbitt, who declined to be directly quoted, say they’re glad the case led to more arrests, but it does little to ease their pain.