Man accused of straw purchase in deadly police shooting appears in federal court

Gerald Lawson (Courtesy: Franklin County Sheriff's Office)

The man accused of buying a gun for accused police shooter Quentin Smith, appeared in federal court Monday afternoon.

Federal authorities said Gerald Lawson, of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, was charged with aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. A criminal complaint said he allegedly acted as a straw purchaser for Smith.

Investigators said Smith and Lawson were longtime friends and Smith provided the 30-year-old with money for a firearm and an extra $100 as compensation. Authorities said Lawson knew of Smith’s felony conviction, but still purchased a gun for him anyway.

On Saturday Feb. 10th, Smith is accused of shooting Westerville Police officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering after the officers responded to a domestic situation call.

In federal court Monday, police officers from Westerville and agencies throughout central Ohio packed a federal court room where Lawson’s hearing was held.

After the hearing, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman said prosecuting Lawson sends a message.

"The purpose of this prosecution is to try to hold accountable the person who put the gun in the hands of the shooter,” said Glassman.

Lawson will appear in court for a detention hearing on Wednesday at 2:45 p.m. and a preliminary hearing 02/20 2 p.m.

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