A man who killed his ex-wife in what’s being investigated as a murder-attempted suicide at a Thousand Oaks mall was previously under investigation after she accused him of domestic violence, and his firearm was taken away as a result, authorities said Wednesday.
But the handgun used in the crime was returned to Kevin Crane despite a standing order to confiscate it due to a miscommunication between Ventura County sheriff’s officials and the District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Buschow said.
Crane, 33, shot and killed 29-year-old Parisa Siddiqi at her place of work in The Oaks Shopping Center before turning the gun on himself on Saturday, according to investigators. Crane remains hospitalized in critical condition with a self-inflicted head wound.
Detectives have since uncovered a previous domestic violence incident involving the once-married couple in September 2014. In that case, deputies concluded that Crane had beat Siddiqi during an argument and arrested him on suspicion of domestic battery, sheriff’s officials said. It’s unclear if the two were married at the time.
A .40-caliber Glock Crane owned was seized as part of deputies’ investigation and held in the sheriff’s property room, although it was not used in the 2014 incident.
When Crane was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery, DA’s officials also filed a petition to seize his handgun. When a judge ordered the weapon be seized in November 2014, it was still being stored at the Sheriff’s Department.
The next January, the domestic violence case was dropped after Siddiqi failed to cooperate with investigators and appear in court — but the gun seizure order stayed in place, according to Buschow.
And, despite Crane receiving a letter of eligibility to possess a firearm in March 2015 in response to a gun release application he filed, sheriff’s officials do not believe the gun should have been returned to him.
“If we had known about the court order, we would not have given him the gun,” even though he was legally able to buy another firearm, Buschow said.
But deputies at the East County sheriff’s station released the gun to him that same March. Although the DA’s office sent notice to the Sheriff’s Department about the seizure order after it was issued via inter-office mail, there is no record of it being received by sheriff’s officials until October 2015, deputies said.
Deputies are still trying to work out who it was sent to and when it was sent, according to Buschow.
“Procedurally, we found there’s a flaw in the way the documents are transmitted between the courts and the sheriff’s office on that,” he said, adding that the domestic violence charges being dropped and confiscation order are “two separate court actions, one of which we were completely unaware.”
The Glock used to kill Siddiqi, the same one that had been seized, was the only firearm registered to Crane, investigators said.
DA’s officials and the Sheriff’s Department are “reviewing the process and are taking steps to ensure this never happens again,” deputies wrote in a news release issued Wednesday.