June 26--Lawmen on the hunt for the fully loaded pistol they say is missing in downtown Boston after a Quincy club-goer dropped it into a bush fear it could fall into the wrong hands, possibly adding to the 97 percent of recent Hub slayings caused by illegal handguns -- a staggering trend authorities say has to stop.
"This defendant notwithstanding, we're not interested in prosecuting lawful gun owners," Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley told the Herald. "The vast majority of homicides and shootings in Boston are committed by violent offenders using unlicensed firearms, and that's where we direct our resources."
John T. Murrett pleaded not guilty to a charge of unsafe weapon storage yesterday in Boston Municipal Court. Police said the 26-year-old was denied entry to the Theatre District nightclub, Club Royale, on Saturday when bouncers found his properly licensed Ruger LC9 in his pants.
"He then walked northbound on Tremont Street and placed his firearm in some bushes, at a nearby playground and left," police wrote. Three hours later, after discovering the weapon was missing, Murrett returned to the club, wanting to know if anyone turned in a gun, police said. Cops were called and he was arrested.
Conley called Murrett's alleged actions "an act of staggering irresponsibility," and lamented that "there's yet another loaded gun on the streets of Boston, ready to be used in a robbery, a shooting, or worse."
Since 2008, of the 70 fatal shootings in Boston in which a suspect was arrested, 68 involved illegal firearms, according to Conley's office. The only defendants who bought a gun through legal channels include: Philip Markoff, the accused Craigslist Killer who bought the gun police said he used to kill 25-year-old Julissa Brisman from a New Hampshire gun shop, albeit using another man's ID; and Randy Moore, the 54-year-old Brighton man who's accused of using his shotgun to murder his elderly neighbor last August.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who co-chairs the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition, warned whoever has the gun, "you're just as much at fault as the guy who put that gun there.
"You're out there, you took that gun, and you thought it was a toy," Menino said in a stern message to the gun's new -- and illegal -- owner. "It's not a toy. Turn it in."
Murrett has a Class A license issued by the Quincy police, records show. Typically, to receive a Class A gun permit, a person must obtain approval from the local and state officials.
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