Prosecutors: Gun Used to Kill Sacramento Deputy Was Bought illegally; Nevada Man Indicted

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A federal grand jury has indicted a Nevada man as an unlicensed firearms dealer after he allegedly sold guns to out-of-state residents, including one that was used in the fatal shooting of a Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy.

Deputy Robert "Bob" French is shown in a photo released by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office on Aug. 30, 2017.
Deputy Robert “Bob” French is shown in a photo released by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office on Aug. 30, 2017.

Charles Martin Ellis, 64, was charged Wednesday in a Nevada federal court with one count of engaging in firearms dealing without a license and one count of transfer or sale of a firearm to a nonresident, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors say Ellis sold the Zastava 7.62-millimeter caliber pistol that was used in a dramatic shootout on Aug. 30, 2017, that ended with two California Highway Patrol officers wounded and Deputy Robert French, a 21-year veteran of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, dead.

According to the Sheriff’s Department, investigators also found two handguns and a live hand grenade in the shooter’s vehicle after he was caught. Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced the gun back to a man who purchased it from Ellis in Nevada, prosecutors said.

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