Three days after the deadly 2013 Boston Marathon explosions, investigators say bombing suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev used a Ruger 9mm semi-automatic handgun to murder MIT police officer Sean Collier, carjack a young businessman, and hours later to fire on police in a vicious gunfight. Now with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on trial, witnesses and court documents have shed new light on the pistol’s curious path through a criminal underground and purportedly into the hands of the brothers who were once the most wanted men in America.
The gun’s serial number was “obliterated” by the time U.S. law enforcement got to it, but federal investigators were able to forensically “raise” the numbers and trace its purchase to a gun store more than three years ago and 100 miles from Boston.
In November 2011, Los Angeles native Danny Sun Jr. bought the 9mm Ruger P95 at a Cabela’s hunting and fishing store in South Portland, Maine as part of a “multi-gun” purchase, law enforcement officials and a Cabela manager told ABC News. Sun Jr. later told police that at some point over the next year, he gave the weapon to Biniam “Icy” Tsegai.
When Tsegai, an Eritrean immigrant, received the gun, federal prosecutors in Maine said he and others were the target of a multi-agency federal investigation into crack dealing out of Portland hotel rooms. Tsegai would plead guilty to drug charges in 2014.
But back in 2012, Tsegai handed the gun off to 21-year-old Merhawi “Howie” Berhe, according to recent testimony from Stephen Silva, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s “best friend.”
"Sun Jr. later told police that at some point over the next year, he gave the weapon to Biniam “Icy” Tsegai. "
Licensing and registration would have made that illegal. The way things are now, Mr. Sun could simply claim that it was a private transfer and he didn't know that Icy Tsegai was a criminal.