Northeast Ohio man charged with buying gun for felon accused of killing officers

(Courtesy: Franklin County Sheriff's Office)

A northeast Ohio man was federally charged for buying the gun used to kill two Westerville Police officers.

The Department of Justice, DOJ, said Gerald A. Lawson III, 30, of Warrensville Heights was charged by criminal complaint for allegedly purchasing for Quentin L. Smith. The convicted felon was accused of shooting and killing two Westerville Police Officers on February 10.

Federal agents said Gerald Lawson bought a Glock, manufactured model 27 generation 4, .40 caliber semi-automatic gun last May.

"Lawson was charged with aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm by a prohibited person," said the DOJ. "He was arrested (Monday) by federal agents and is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate (Monday afternoon)."

The DOJ said Smith was prohibited from possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. A witness told investigators Smith provided Lawson money for the firearm as well as an extra $100.

Lawson allegedly knew Smith had been convicted of a felony. Investigators said Lawson and Smith have a long history of friendship.

"A review of Lawson’s social media account after the incident on February 10 revealed a post by Lawson displaying three photographs of both of the men together," said the DOJ in a release. "A comment by Lawson associated with the post also referenced the long-standing friendship between the two."

DOJ said a firearm trace indicated the Glock firearm was purchased by Lawson in Broadview Heights, Ohio. The shop manager of Stonewall Range and Uniforms said federal agents seized records of the gun sold at their shop. The manager said Lawson passed a background check instantly and left the store with the gun the same day.

Lawson now faces up to 10 years in prison.

The manager of Stonewall Range and Uniforms said they are saddened as to what resulted with the gun but they cannot control what happens with the weapon once it leaves their doors. She said the shop is cooperating in the federal investigation and agents with ATF asked them not to comment on the investigation.

ABC 6/FOX 28 will continue to update this developing story.

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