Police probe for source of officer-killer's illegal firearm

INDIANAPOLIS - Police said they’re working on tracing the source of the gun that was used by a convicted felon to shoot and kill an Indy metropolitan police officer last week.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) said Monday it’s trying to find out how Steven Byrdo, 24, was able to get his hands on a gun when he has had several criminal cases in his past.

Byrdo was killed early Friday morning during a shootout with IMPD officers. IMPD said Byrdo fired two shots at Ray Bradway in an ambush, with Bradway returning fire eight times and shooting Byrdo. Byrdo was shot multiple times, and then was fatally shot by a second officer who arrived after Bradway.

Sources are telling RTV6 that had Bradway not been able to strike Byrdo with gunfire, Byrdo may have ambushed the second officer that was trying to come into the apartment.

Investigators said there were two guns found in Byrdo’s apartment, both .380 caliber. One belonged to someone else who lived there and was legitimately purchased and owned.

Now, the police department is trying to find out how Byrdo came into possession of that gun.

"The criminals are still going to get the guns," IMPD officer Dewey Runnels said. "So we've got to work within the laws that we have and people who use the guns in crimes and target them for convictions."

Investigators said the search is fraught with difficulty because there is no paper trail when guns are sold between individuals. They said the gun that was used to kill Bradway was obtained through illegal means, such as Byrdo buying the gun from someone who was able to purchase it from a store legitimately.

"I can tell you this," IMPD spokesman Chris Bailey said, "Our investigators won't stop until they have hit that brick wall or they can't go any further. And if there are people to be held accountable for (a) felon in possession of a handgun, you can be sure they will be held accountable."

IMPD said it’s incumbent upon everyone to find out where these guns come from, particularly when they are used in crimes of violence and especially in crimes against police officers.

"Many people look at holding accountable the gunman who actually fired the weapon that kills the officer," U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett said. "What we've done in federal law enforcement and prosecution, is go back up the chain and find anyone responsible for putting the gun in the hands of the individual who kills a police officer."

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