“Ghost Guns”: Gun Kits Purchased Online Fuel Epidemic Of Violence

Mr Ely was among the victims of a flash of carnage that began, investigators say, when a man named Travis Sarreshteh, 32, approached a hotel parking lot, Judge Boldin , and, without warning, shot him with a Polymer80 pistol. Mr. Boldin, 28, a former college baseball player, died almost instantly.

Next, Mr. Sarreshteh, who pleaded not guilty after being charged with murder, brushed against a group of New Jersey friends. He rolled over and fired, slightly injuring two of the men, police said. A third man, Vincent Gazzani, was injured in his arm, lung, spleen and stomach. Mr. Ely was probably hit by this volley.

“I was sure I was going to die – I couldn’t catch my breath,” said Mr. Gazzani, who was rescued by a former IDF medic who applied a field bandage from a towel, assuring him that he “was going to do it” as he waited for paramedics to arrive.

Police still don’t know how Mr. Sarreshteh obtained the weapon, a recurring theme in almost every phantom gun investigation. But obtaining a phantom weapon, they say, allowed him to dodge a background check that allegedly revealed a significant criminal history, including an illegal weapons charge in 2017.

The shooting barely had a nationwide ripple effect. But it galvanized officials in San Diego.

“How can someone who has been prohibited from legally buying a gun get a 9mm gun and shoot five people in the middle of the street?” Said Marni von Wilpert, a San Diego city councilor who passed a law banning guns without a serial number, as part of a wave of local legislation aimed at tackling the crisis.

Community leaders in some of the violence-plagued urban neighborhoods of the state have sounded the alarm bells over the past two years as teens collect homemade weapons for protection or as emblems of tenacity.

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