Lawsuit targets Indianapolis gun dealer

IMPD officer wounded by gun resold to felon

INDIANAPOLIS - An Indianapolis police officer is joining a national group against gun violence to sue an Indianapolis gun dealer.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Dewey Runnels was wounded nearly two years ago by a man armed with a gun he never should have been able to buy.

The shootout between robbery suspect Demetrius Martin, 23, and Runnels left Martin dead and the officer wounded in the hip.

Martin, a convicted felon, was prohibited by law from buying the handgun he used to shoot Runnels.

On Tuesday, Runnels, along with the Washington-based Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, announced that they are suing the Indianapolis gun store that sold the gun used in the crime.

"Gun owners like me understand better than anyone that we need to do what we can to keep guns out of the hands of criminals like the one who shot me," Runnels said.

Police determined that Tarus Blackburn Jr., of Indianapolis, bought the gun from KS&E Sports and then resold it to Martin.

Blackburn was sentenced to a year in federal prison.

The lawsuit filed against the gun store alleges that the owner was negligent, reckless and unlawfully sold the gun to a so-called straw buyer, in this case, Blackburn, who bought the gun for Martin two months before the shooting.

The suit also alleges that KS&E sells an average of 100 guns per year traced to crimes.

"We are bringing this lawsuit today to bring justice to Officer Runnels and to send a message to irresponsible gun sellers," Jonathan Lowy with Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence said.

The suit also alleges that Blackburn and Martin entered the gun store together and that Martin even selected the Smith and Wesson handgun. Attorneys claimed that the IMPD officer suffered serious and extensive injuries in that shootout.

"I'm bringing this lawsuit because that's wrong. I'm bringing this lawsuit because I don't want criminals to get guns," Runnels said.

Follow Chris Proffitt on Twitter: @chrisproffitt

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