The Hidden Life of Guns

A father’s grief

Larry McDonald recounts the murder of his son, Philadelphia police officer Patrick McDonald. The younger McDonald was gunned down by convicted felon Daniel Giddings during a traffic stop on Sept. 23, 2008. The officer was 30 years old.

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A gun's path from purchase to slaying
Lancaster, S.C.
Nov. 9, 2006

A 10-shot Taurus Model PT 145 Millennium Pro arrives at a pawnshop in rural Lancaster, S.C., from a whole-sale firearms distributor in the state. The gun had been shipped to Miami from a factory in Brazil.

Nov. 13, 2006

Jason Mack, 27, buys the .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol for $250.

Nov. 16, 2006

After the three-day waiting period for a background check, Mack takes the gun home.

Late Nov. 2006

Within days, Mack sells the gun for $400 to Stephen Lashley, a 30-year-old felon from Philadelphia.

Sept. 9, 2007

The Taurus figures in a nonfatal shootout between two men at a Sunoco gas station in Southwest Philadelphia. Both are injured and go to a hospital, but police responding to reports of gunfire do not find the gun.

Sept. 22, 2008

More spent cartridges from the Taurus were recovered in Old City Philadelphia, just east of downtown, by police responding to reports of gunfire. Once again, they can't find the gun.

Sept. 23, 2008

Daniel Giddings, a 27-year-old felon, uses the Taurus to fatally shoot Patrick McDonald, 30, after the officer pursues the fleeing felon down the streets of a North Philadelphia neighborhood.

SOURCES: Court records and police reports.
By Wilson Andrews, Ben de la Cruz, Laris Karklis and Cheryl W. Thompson / The Washington Post - November 22, 2010.

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