SEATTLE (AP) — The father of a Washington state high school student who killed four classmates and himself last fall was arrested Tuesday on a federal charge that he was barred from possessing the gun his son used in the shooting.
Raymond Lee Fryberg Jr., 42, faces one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. An FBI agent alleged in a criminal complaint that even though Fryberg was subject to a domestic violence protection order, he purchased five guns from a Cabela's outdoor recreation store, including the Beretta pistol his son used in the shooting, by lying on a federal form.
Jaylen Fryberg, 15, a well-liked freshman who had recently been a Homecoming prince, inexplicably shot and killed four friends and wounded another last October after inviting them to lunch in the cafeteria at Marysville-Pilchuck High School north of Seattle.
"Our office has a long history of working with our federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners across Western Washington to prosecute those who illegally possess firearms," Annette Hayes, the acting U.S. attorney in Seattle, said in a news release. "This case is part of that effort and a reminder that we are united in our commitment to get firearms out of the hands of those who pose the greatest risk to our communities."
Fryberg appeared Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court, where prosecutors asked that he be kept in custody. A detention hearing was scheduled for Thursday. He said nothing during the brief hearing, where he was represented by a public defender.
According to the complaint, Fryberg's then-girlfriend, the mother of one of his children, obtained a protection order against him in Tulalip Tribal Court in 2002, alleging that he had threatened her, slapped her and pulled her hair.
The order became permanent, and in September 2012, Fryberg entered a no-contest plea to a charge that he violated it. He was given a suspended sentence of six months and ordered again to comply with the terms of the order.
Just four months later, Fryberg went to a Cabela's store on the Tulalip reservation and purchased the Beretta, the complaint said. He answered "no" on a federal form asking if he was subject to a court order restraining him from harassing, stalking or threatening a child or intimate partner, and he answered the same when he filled out forms for the purchase of four other weapons at the store between January 2013 and July 2014, the complaint said.
In a statement Tuesday, Cabela's Inc. said it "strictly complies with federal, state and local laws regulating the sale of firearms. Cabela's records indicate the transaction was processed in compliance with applicable regulations, including background checks."
State Sen. John McCoy, a member of the Tulalip Tribe, said he didn't know Fryberg had been subject to a restraining order.
"That's exceptionally troublesome to me," McCoy said. "It points me to the issue we've been arguing about in the state, that people are not going to tell the truth when they fill out the forms to buy a gun, so maybe we should have a registry of people who are subject to these orders. That'll be more fodder for discussion."
Tulalip Tribes Chairman Herman Williams said the tribal police department will continue to coordinate with federal authorities but would have no further comment on the ongoing investigation.
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