Plymouth Township officer Bradley Fox with his K-9 Nick. Credit: www.officerbradfox.com
According to a lawsuit filed Tuesday, a Norristown gun dealer is legally liable for selling a straw purchaser six guns -- one of which was used to kill a Plymouth Township cop in 2012.
"I am bringing this case with the hope that something positive will come of this tragedy, that through legal action I can help prevent other families from suffering a similar fate," said Lynsay Fox, officer Brad Fox's widow, in a statement.
The suit says In Site Firearms should not have sold firearms to a man who then resold the guns to Andrew Thomas, 44, who killed Fox in September 2012.
Fox, a decorated Marine who served in Iraq, saw Thomas speeding and pursued him. After Thomas crashed, he shot at Fox and his K-9, Nick, fatally striking Fox once in the head. Thomas fled and later shot himself to death.
"The loss of Brad Fox was a tragedy that most people living in Montgomery County ... still remember and mourn," said Hope Freiwald, a lawyer at Drechert LLP, which is filing the suit for Lynsay. "This case is not about Second Amendment rights ... it's about preventing unlawful use of guns through straw purchasers."
According to the lawsuit, straw purchaser Michael Henry, bought six guns from In Site for Thomas, who could not buy guns legally due to his criminal background. Henry gave the guns to Thomas in the store's parking lot, the suit claims.
Buying multiple guns, paying in cash and buying the same model of gun should be red flags to gun dealers, said John Lowy, director of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in D.C.'s legal action project.
"Brad Fox was an extraordinary, true hero," Lowy said. "It's not difficult for a gun dealer to effectively screen for straw purchasers ... 90 percent of gun dealers sell guns in no crimes, zero. In the overwhelming majority of cases, it's not just bad luck that certain gun dealers supply criminals."
Luke Kelly, co-owner of In Site and a named defendant in the suit, declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying in a voicemail that he and his attorney have not yet been served with the lawsuit and thus have not yet read it.