101 California Street Killings and Gun Control Litigation: Merrill v. Navegar, Inc. Bryan Kirk



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101 California Street Killings and Gun Control Litigation:


Merrill v. Navegar, Inc.
Bryan Kirk


The 101 California Street building stands in the heart of San Francisco’s Financial District taking up the block made by California Street to the north, Davis Street to the east, Pine Street to the south, and Front Street to the west. Ascending 48 stories to a height of 600 feet, an immense corrugated cylinder of dark glass rises from a massive triangular block of pink-peach, gray-speckled granite, which juts out towards the intersection of California and Front like a defiant foot. In the large plaza facing the intersection of California and Davis, the same granite is stacked to create three five-level, triangular prism-like terraces arranged with their points facing inward, two along California and one along Davis. In between the two terraces along California, water flows over a mushroom-like fountain and spreads into a shallow pool below. Across the way, at the far end of the terrace along Davis, a woman sells flowers out of a traditional white gazebo. Behind the gazebo, at the base of 101 California Street’s tower, a marble-lined, glass atrium slants up seven stories to form the building’s palm-filled, greenhouse lobby.

This is the starting place for the story of Merrill v. Navegar, Inc.1—the case which, while it lasted, was the golden child of the gun control movement.

Part 1, July 1, 1993:

On Thursday July 1, 1993 at around 2:45 p.m., on an anomalously hot San Francisco summer afternoon, Gian Luigi Ferri—a short, heavy-set, fifty-five year old man with medium-length, thinning, dark, curly hair and wearing a dark business suit and suspenders—pulled an airplane luggage cart loaded with two black leather attaché cases and a large canvas duffel bag into the lobby at 101 California Street.

Randall Miller, who worked in the building and was on his way out to grab a cup of coffee, noticed Ferri, and thinking he was a salesman, said to himself, “That must be a tough job.”

Ferri—who was not a salesman—was actually making his second visit to 101 California Street, that day. Early the same morning, Ferri had driven north to San Francisco five hours from his apartment in the San Fernando Valley community of Woodland Hills and had a brief interview with lawyers on the 34th floor of 101 California Street at the law firm of Petit & Martin.

Returning now, some three or four hours later, Ferri walked by Miller and past the security station in the center of the lobby, which was manned by three guards. He then entered one of the building’s three elevators that traveled to the top floors. Ferri pushed the button marked 34.

On the 34th floor at about the same time, Judy Roberts, a legal secretary with Petit & Martin, left her desk to go buy a soda. The 34th floor, along with the 33rd and 36th, made up the San Francisco offices of Petit & Martin, a full-service law firm, which was then the Bay Area’s fifteenth largest. Roberts’ desk was on the west-side of the building, near the office of Bob Burke, the attorney for whom she worked. On the 34th floor, the attorney’s offices ran along the edge of the building. The desk of the legal secretaries and paralegals, along with the offices of the firm’s various internal departments (word processing, accounting, etc.), were clustered about the floor’s interior.

Roberts wove through the desks around her own, then walked the short distance past the word processing department to the reception desk. She then turned right into the elevator lobby.

The elevator lobby stood in the middle of the floor and extended out, creating a hallway that ran from the reception area on the west to the main conference room on the far east-side of the building. The soda machines were on the 36th floor. An interior stairwell connected the 33rd and 34th floors. However, as the building’s emergency stairwell did not open to any floors except the lobby unless a fire alarm had been activated, to reach the 36th floor one had to take the elevator.

Roberts stood in the elevator lobby and waited.

When the elevator door opened, a stocky, slightly disheveled man in a dark business suit, accompanied by a luggage cart, stood in the back right-hand corner. The man seemed preoccupied with something in one of his bags.

Stepping into the elevator, Roberts asked the man if he needed any help. The man responded, “Wait right there.”

Roberts gave him a once over. The man had a handgun.

Thinking the man was a thief, Roberts prepared to offer him her purse.

The man again said: “Wait right there.”

The man then stepped forward and pulled the red lever disabling the elevator. He exited the elevator into the elevator lobby and turned to his left towards the conference room on the east.

Sharon O’Grady, a Petit & Martin bankruptcy attorney, stood at the reception desk, as Roberts entered the elevator. O’Grady noticed Ferri as he exited the elevator and watched him for a moment to see if he belonged.

At the entrance of the elevator, Roberts waited momentarily. As she saw Ferri head towards the east-side of the floor -- seeming to still be preoccupied with the one bag he had taken with him, Roberts ran from the elevator towards the reception desk.

With O’Grady following, Roberts darted into the word processing department around the corner, warning them that there was a man on the floor with a gun.

Roberts then sprinted to her boss Bob Burke’s office and closed the door behind her, turning the lock.

Bonnie Young, another employee of Petit & Martin, stood near the eastern end of the elevator lobby as Ferri entered onto the floor, walking past her line of vision as he headed toward the east-side conference room. From Young’s perspective, he seemed to be carrying what looked like a video camera.

Young followed for a moment. Then, suddenly, she realized that what she thought was a video camera was actually a gun.

She ducked into the door of the accounting department and told the employees there what she had seen.

* * *

The handgun, which Roberts had noticed, was a Norinco 1911A1, a very effective and accurate .45-caliber pistol. It was loaded with Winchester “Black Talon” hollow-point bullets—bullets, whose tips mushroom into six sharp points and rotate at approximately 100,000 revolutions per minute upon entering the human body. What Young had thought to be a video camera was one of the two TEC-DC9 assault weapons, which Ferri had slung one over each of his shoulders. The TEC-DC9s—twelve and a half inches long, barrel-shrouded, 9-millimeter, semi-automatic assualt weapons—were both equipped with “Hell-Fire” trigger systems. By means of a spring placed behind the trigger guard, both TEC-DC9s were capable of firing in rapid bursts much like an automatic weapon.



In Ferri’s bags were several hundred rounds of ammunition, including a handful of magazines containing as many as forty or fifty rounds.2 Each of the two TEC-DC9s was armed and loaded with a thirty-two round magazine—in part, like the Norinco 1911A1, filled with “Black-Talon” bullets.

* * *


In the conference room at the end of the hall, Deanna Eaves, a thirty-three year old court reporter from Richmond, California was transcribing the deposition of Jody Jones Sposato in preparation for an arbitration proceeding in a wrongful termination/sexual discrimination suit, which Sposato had filed against a company represented by a Petit & Martin affiliate.

Sposato sat facing the interior of the floor. A curtain concealed the large glass wall that stared out onto the floor’s main hallway. Sposato’s lawyer, Jack Berman, a thirty-five year old attorney from the San Francisco firm of Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon, sat next to her. Sharon Jones O’Roke, an attorney from Plano, Texas who was representing the Petit & Martin affiliate, sat on the other side of the table at the end.

Suddenly, the glass shattered.

In a single burst of fire, Sposato and Berman were struck and fell from their chairs. Eaves and O’Roke ducked under the table. Eaves grabbed hold of a chair to protect herself.

Ferri then entered the room, spraying under the table. Eaves was struck on her right side. O’Roke was struck in her head, chest, and arms.

With the Norinco pistol, Ferri reached over and shot both Sposato and Berman at point-blank range. Both were killed.

Ferri then exited the conference room and turned to his right, walking along the perimeter of the floor.

Down the arch of the hall six or seven doors from the conference room, thirty-nine year old litigation attorney Brian Berger was in the office of fifty-two year old partner Allen Berk. Berger’s office was next door. He had come over to chat.

Before Berk and Berger could process and decided how to react to the glass shattering and gunfire down the hall, Ferri fired through the glass wall of Berk’s office. Both Berk and Berger were struck.

Stepping into the office, Ferri shot and killed Berk with the Norinco pistol.

He then stepped back, and turned and walked back towards the conference room. Berger was wounded in his left arm and chest.

Ferri walked past the conference room, then continued along the perimeter towards the interior staircase leading to the 33rd floor.

He continued to fire. The bursts seemed to come six at a time.

As he descended the interior staircase, Ferri fired at two individuals at point-blank range. David Sutcliffe, a thirty year old summer associate at Petit & Martin from the University of Colorado, Boulder, was killed instantly. Charles Ross, a forty-two year old contract attorney, serving as a consultant to Petit & Martin, was struck on his right arm.

* * *

Shortly before Ferri had entered 101 California Street, twenty-seven year old Petit & Martin associate Michelle Scully had dropped by the office of her husband, John Scully, twenty-eight years old and a fellow Petit & Martin attorney. The two had met in law school and been married for around nine months. John’s office was on the 34th floor. Michelle’s was on the 33rd. Michelle had planned to tell John she was going to go to University of San Francisco’s law library to do some research. John, however, had persuaded her to stay and work in his office.


Michelle was on her way back to her office, to gather her things and bring them back up to John’s, when John, still in his office, heard the shattering glass and gunfire. Someone told him to get out of the building. He ran downstairs and grabbed Michelle. He told her that he had heard “pops” and that they were evacuating the building. Michelle thought it was a Fourth of July prank, but followed. Then, they saw Ferri.

Ferri approached a young man in the stairwell, then—seemingly in the same moment—the young man collapsed in a pool of blood. John and Michelle turned and ran into an empty office. They tried to conceal themselves behind a cabinet. Ferri, however, followed. John threw his body over Michelle as bullets sprayed the room.

When the gunfire moved on, John asked Michelle if she had been hit. She said no. (In truth, she had been wounded in her right shoulder and chest.) Michelle asked John. He had been hit. He was bleeding badly.

Michelle attempted to call 911. John tried to help. John then turned to Michele. “Michele,” he said, “I am dying…I love you.”

They said their good-byes.

* * *

Under contract with 101 California Ventures, the owners of the 101 California Street building, American Protective Services (“APS”) provided security for the building. When an alarm lit up on the building’s security console showing an elevator had been disabled on the 34th floor, APS employee Lisa Quadri immediately sent one of the guards to check on it.

When the guard arrived on the 34th floor, via another elevator, the guard found a large canvas bag and a large amount of ammunition lying in the elevator that had been abandoned. Quickly, the guard reactivated that elevator and headed back down to the lobby, radioing his supervisor to tell what he had found.

Downstairs, guards had already begun receiving calls reporting gunfire.

As Randall Miller returned from what turned out to be a trip to the ATM at the Wells Fargo a block up on California Street, the normally relaxed security desk was active on the telephones and radio. As he approached the elevators, Miller heard an alarm.

Upstairs, perhaps only a minute or two earlier, John Sanger, an attorney with Petit & Martin, had ran from his office on the 34th floor down the interior staircase to the elevators on 33rd. A summer associate had told Sanger that there was a gunman on the floor.

A group of fifteen to twenty, including Sanger, rushed into the 33rd floor elevator in the same moment as Petit & Martin legal assistant Lorretta MacDonald was on her way out. Someone told MacDonald about the gunman. MacDonald quickly got back on.

When the elevator stopped at the 27th floor, the Petit & Martin employees burst out, yelling “Help us, there’s a man with a gun!” The group then as quick as possible headed to the lobby.

A moment after Randall Miller pushed the button for an elevator going up, this large group of people exited. As they exited, someone said, “Don’t go up there.”

Miller inquired why.

Someone said, “There’s a man with a gun.”

Sanger walked past Miller and grabbed security guard, Michael Kidd. Kidd, apparently, was yet to be informed. Miller entered the elevator and rode down to the underground parking garage. From there, he called his secretary on a pay phone and told her to lock the doors.

The first call out of 101 California Street to 911 was received by operators at 2:57 p.m. A little over a minute later, operators received a second call, now reporting two people down. Almost immediately, an ambulance was dispatched to the scene.

Then, however, the dispatchers’ computers experienced an information overload. Calls continued to come in, but police could not be dispatched. It took a little less than three minutes for the problem to be remedied. At 3:03 p.m., the first police unit was dispatched.

When Miller returned to the building’s lobby, a police officer was talking to the group of people who had come down from the 33rd floor. The guards at the security desk had told the callers to call 911. They had also allegedly told callers to pull the fire alarms to try to seal the interior staircase between the 34th and 33rd floors and trap the gunman. Whether they had considered the other consequence of pulling the fire alarms—the opening of access to all the floors of the building from the emergency stairwell—was not clear.

* * *

At some point, the fire alarm had been pulled.

Ferri entered the emergency stairwell on the 33rd floor and descended to the 32nd. The 32nd floor was leased by Trust Company of the West and sub-leased in part to the law firm of Davis, Wright & Tremaine. Large, lockable wooden doors separated the floor’s lobby from the offices. No one on the floor, however, had been warned of a gun man.

Ferri exited the emergency stairwell into the lobby for Trust Company of the West. At some point, one of Ferri’s TEC-DC9s had jammed and overheated. In the Trust Company’s lobby, Ferri paused and reloaded his weapons.

Although his office sat in plain view of the lobby, forty-eight year old Trust Company employee Donald Merrill, better known as Mike, did not notice Ferri. Entering the offices, Ferri spray-fired through the glass wall of Merrill’s office. Struck, Merrill fell below his desk.

Ferri moved through the floor.

Sixty-four year old Trust Company secretary Shirley Mooser died after being struck four times. Thirty-three year old Deborah Fogel, a legal secretary for Davis, Wright & Tremaine, was hit by nine bullets, and later died.

Ferri returned to Mike Merrill’s office, a handful of minutes after he left, and sprayed beneath the desk. Now struck by four bullets, Merrill died within twenty minutes.

Sitting in her office, forty-one year old Vicky Smith, marketing vice-president of Trust Company of the West, was struck five times, wounded in her left shoulder, lung, and hand.

Ferri exited the 32nd floor into the emergency stairwell.

The fire alarm now had been deactivated. There was no exit but the lobby.

Ferri descended to the 30th floor.

Below, SWAT team members began to ascend the stairwell.

On the platform between the 29th and 30th floors, Ferri placed the Norinco pistol under his chin and fired.

He fell facing up.

* * *

In about fifteen minutes, Ferri had fired off somewhere between seventy-five and a hundred rounds. At some point during the shooting, he had donned ear protectors to quiet the sound of his weapons. Including Ferri, nine had been killed. Those killed included three employees of Petit & Martin (one partner, one associate of little over a year, and one summer associate), two individuals that happened to be in Petit & Martin’s offices for a deposition, two employees of Trust Company of the West, and one employee of Davis, Wright & Tremaine. Six additional people had been wounded.


* * *

At approximately 3:06 p.m., an announcement played for the first time over 101 California Street’s intercom. It stated: “This is an emergency. Stay in your office. Lock your doors. Do not leave. Do not go on the elevator. Do not go on the stairwell. We’ll get back to you.” The message repeated every five minutes throughout the remainder of the afternoon.

On the 40th floor, employees of Boyd & McKay had locked their doors and barricaded themselves in with a couch. On the 25th floor, realtor Turner Newton tried to get some work done to distract himself. Below, SWAT and police teams slowly sprawled from floor to floor, searching for the gunman. Or men: at this point, it was not certain.

On the 26th floor, police supervised express, women-first elevator rides to the lobby.

Rides stopped when word came the gunman was in the stairwell.

At around 3:30 p.m., Davis Wright & Tremaine attorney Harry Shulman, concerned about the victims and the continuing lack of paramedics on the 32nd floor, decided to go down the emergency stairwell and look for help.

Within seconds, he encountered Ferri’s body.

At about the same time, a group of police arrived. The police asked Shulman to check the pulse on the body. Shulman did as asked, then watched as other police arrived. In moments, they realized they had the gunman.

At 4:07 p.m., police summoned a witness “with a heavy stomach” to the stairwell below the 30th floor.

* * *

Outside the building, emergency crews had set up stretchers over the cable car tracks on California Street. BART and Muni were shut down. Near-by streets were blocked off. Swarms of media crews were at the scene. People around the building and around the Bay Area became fastened to their TVs and radios, waiting to find out what exactly had happened and what exactly continued to happen.

People trickled out of 101 California Street. The victims from the 34th and 33rd floors, and then the 32nd appeared. A number were rushed off to San Francisco General. Others were already dead.

At 5:00 p.m., not long after Ferri’s body was rolled out of 101 California Street, the Ferry Building’s clarion played “Beautiful Dreamer” as it always did at that time. The Financial District began to empty. Some headed home without knowledge of the shooting. A large number were still stuck inside the building.

By 9:00 p.m., the 101 California Street building was empty except for police.

* * *

On July 2, 1993 (the next day), the only thing out of the ordinary on California Street was the Red Cross van parked near Davis Street and the media teams hovering across the street.


Trauma workers went door to door offering counseling and stress-briefing sessions, while TV newscasters interviewed comers-and-goers from the building. The offices of Petit & Martin, along with several others in the building, were closed.

At City Hall, San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan held up a TEC-9, an earlier version of the TEC-DC9s used by Ferri, and told a crowd of citizens and reporters, “There is absolutely no reason why a weapon like this should be legal. This is a weapon of war and only of war.”

California Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer similarly called for federal regulation limiting the availability of semi-automatic weapons in their own press conferences. The National Rifle Association issued a statement citing the need to keep dangerous individuals off the street and the need for greater criminal justice enforcement.

Part 2, Gian Luigi Ferri:

In the days following the shooting, information regarding Gian Luigi Ferri accumulated. While Ferri’s motives for killing in the way he did remained murky, the outlines of a troubled—almost deserving of the cliché—man emerged.

When police searched Ferri’s body on the day of the shooting, they found a four-page, single-spaced letter typed in all capital letters taped to his torso. Under the heading, “List of Criminals, Rapist, Racketeers, Lobbyists,” Ferri provided a chronicle of names, phone numbers, and grievances. Listed were over thirty lawyers, bankers, and real estate executives, as well as contact names and addresses for a dozen television news and talk shows.

The letter included a vow to shoot up Petit & Martin. However, none of those wounded or killed was mentioned. The letter also included a vow to shoot up the Battery Street realty firm, Marcus & Millichap, as well as a manufacturer of the food additive monosodium glutamate, or MSG.

Towards the end, the letter rails against the Food and Drug Administration for its failure to regulate MSG. It reads: “The last thing that made all this come to a head is that I am one of those people of the 50% of the population (12.5 million people), where the poison [sic] monosodium glutamate (MGS) [sic] has reached such high levels in our cells, that a minimum amount more can kill us.”

The letter culminates: “There is this condescending attitude in business that when you get emotionally and mentally raped, well ‘you get screwed’ and the accepted result is the victim is now supposed to go to work at 7-11 or become homeless and the rapist is admired and envied [sic] as ‘a winner.’ I have always admired and tried to copy winners, but rape of any kind is deplorable and against the law. Remember the time when the same sneakering [sic], laughing attitude was bestowed upon drunk drivers, and the victim got no sympathy? Remember the time when the person raped physically did not dare to report it because of the humiliation and ridicule that the legal system put the victim thru. It is understandable that business people compete with each other [sic]. When you hire a consultant or an attorney you don’t hire for the purpose of getting raped and then having all your efforts toward legal recourse totally thwarted by a corrupt legal system of ‘esquires.’ Esquires in the dark ages roamed the country-side to steel [sic] from the working people and give to the prince. Do attorney [sic] want us to call them esquires because their allegiance to the monarchy?”

* * *

Gian Luigi Ferri was born in Asmara, Ethiopia in 1937. At twenty, he began work as an engineer. At twenty-seven, he immigrated to the United States.



He arrived in Boston, then moved to San Francisco shortly thereafter. He lived first in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, then down the San Francisco pennisula in Daly City, then north in Sonoma County in Santa Rosa, Cotati, and Petaluma, then back south again in rural Santa Cruz County. He was a draftsman for Stanford Oil Co., then a counselor at Sunny Hill’s children’s center in San Anselmo, then an instructor at Sonoma State. He enrolled at University of California, Santa Cruz in 1969.

That same year, he married a mental health worker named Donna Jean Bendetti and became a naturalized citizen. Ferri then, himself, became a mental health worker. In the early seventies, he and Bendetti moved to Marin, California, north across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.

By the late seventies, however, Ferri and Bendetti were divorced. At the same time, Ferri had become enraptured with a get-rich-quick, self-actualization minister named Terry Cole Whittaker. Ferri went into real estate.

Up through 1993, while living on and off in both Las Vegas, Nevada and the San Francisco Bay Area, before ultimately moving to Southern California six months prior to the shooting, Ferri was involved in several unsuccessful real estate deals. They involved property throughout California and the Las Vegas area. Many of the deals devolved into lawsuits. Ferri’s bookkeeper in Las Vegas could not remember Ferri ever completing a deal.

In 1981, Ferri first came in contact with Petit & Martin. He had hired the firm to help him arrange a deal in which he and a group of Italian investors planned to buy three mobile home parks in the mid-West. The seller and realtor of the property was the realty firm Marcus & Millichap. The cost of the property was somewhere near $8 million.

Petit & Martin attorneys advised Ferri and helped him purchase the property, which he did by means of $6 million of debt and a $1.9 million down payment partly funded by the Italian investors. The deal, however, fell apart as financial and engineering problems developed, in part due to the parks’ being located on flood plains. The Italian investors sued Ferri. Ferri sued Marcus & Millichap.

In 1982, Petit & Martin attorney Peter Russell flew to Indianapolis to find a local lawyer to handle Ferri’s case. That lawyer eventually secured Ferri a $1 million settlement—$223,000 in cash, which Ferri used to cover other investments, and the remainder as part of a restructuring of the $6 million debt. Around this time, Petit & Martin also advised Ferri in a land deal involving a residential development in Leadville, California. Like many of those Ferri had worked with during his time in real estate, the attorneys at Petit & Martin suspected no dissatisfaction on Ferri’s part in relation to the services they had provided him.

Ferri, however, apparently viewed things differently. The letter police found taped to his chest cites the 1981 mobile home park deal as a central part of his greivances. Regarding the deal, the letter states, “I spent the last 13 years trying to find legal recourse and to get back on my feet only to find a wall of silence and corruption from the legal community.”

It claims Petit & Martin “had not attended to details” of his investment and had given deliberate bad advice in order to “steal the money and take over the corporation.” It claims Marcus & Millichap had falsified records, bribing and conspiring in order to achieve a “ridiculous settlement.” At the bottom of the final page of the letter, Ferri scrawled in his own hand, “One possibility of the deciet [sic] of P & M is old racial and ethnic prejudice: two of our investors are African, one Spanish. One Muslim.” At another point, Ferri scrawled: “What happened to me at P & M…was rape.”

Ferri’s failed real estate deals were the source of almost all of the names on his list. When informed that their names were on Ferri’s list, however, almost all of those listed were surprised. A handful had no recollection of ever dealing with Ferri. Most had vague recollections of incomplete business deals or brief interactions.

Those who most recently came into acquaintance with Ferri described him as one who often didn’t work, spent long hours alone, harbored grudges, paced a lot and was in need of money. Those who knew Ferri earlier in his life were largely astonished to learn of the shooting. He had no criminal record. An autopsy found his body to be drug-free.

* * *


In January 1993, Ferri made his first visit to the Pawn and Gun Shop in Henderson, Nevada. Over the next several weeks, he made a handful more.

According to the sales clerk at the store, during the course of his visits, Ferri inquired about “a wide variety of guns” and spent several hours discussing and examining “maybe 10.” He seemed interested in a high-capacity weapon. He told the sales clerk he needed a gun for home protection.

Ultimately, Ferri purchased a used TEC-9, an earlier version of the TEC-DC9s he would eventually use during the shooting at 101 California Street. It was the only TEC-9 or TEC-DC9 in stock. He came back the same day, however, and returned the weapon.

He told the sales clerk, “I don’t trust this gun. I need a new gun for a very special task.”

On April 25, Ferri visited AALJ’s SuperPawn in Las Vegas, Nevada. He told the sales clerk, here, as well as another customer, Ward Messing: “I’m looking for an excellent ‘target practice’ gun. I want it for plinking.”

The sales clerk remembered showing Ferri a TEC-DC9 and another, more expensive, gun made by Glock. The sales clerk could not remember whether she or Ferri suggested the Glock. She did, however, remember she tended to steer customers towards better, higher quality firearms, which the Glock was. She could not remember ever suggesting the TEC-DC9 to a customer. She remembered only moderate discussion of the price of the weapons.

Ferri was only interested in the TEC-DC9.

In reference to the gun, Ward Messing told Ferri: “They’ll laugh you off the shooting range if you show up with that gun. It’s a waste of time because it’s not an accurate weapon at all.” Messing suggested that if Ferri wanted a gun for “plinking”—shooting cans or bottles, or possibly even targets, generally in open areas or occasionally at ranges—Ferri should opt for a .22 caliber gun, as ammunition for a 9-millimeter weapon like the TEC-DC9 was quite expensive, costing around eleven dollars for a box of fifty rounds.

In reference to the TEC-DC9, Messing said, “I couldn’t afford to shoot it.” In response, irritated by Messing’s comments, Ferri slapped an invalid Nevada driver’s license along with the necessary two hundred eighty-eight dollars of cash onto the counter and purchased the TEC-DC9.

He filled out the necessary single sheet of paperwork, using an invalid license and a fake address, then walked out of the store.

A week later, Ferri returned to purchase an attachable “combat-sling” for the TEC-DC9. The store, however, was out of stock.

On May 8, Ferri purchased a second TEC-DC9 at a gun show in Las Vegas. Again, he used the invalid Nevada license and fake address. The seller of the gun was Danny W. Peterson Guns of Utah. Ferri told the sales clerk that he already owned one TEC-DC9. He paid two hundred ten dollars for the second TEC-DC9—the cheapest price available at the gun show for the gun.

This second gun came via Utah from a firearm distributor in Lebanon, Ohio. The first TEC-DC9 Ferri purchased (the one from AALJ’s Superpawn) had come from a distributor in Prescott, Arizona. Navegar, Inc., the manufacturer of both the TEC-9 and the TEC-DC9, was based out of Miami, Florida.

With the exception of Ferri’s use of fraudulent identification, all his purchases were completely legal under all relevant law. All of the dealers were licensed.

On June 18, two weeks before the shooting, Ferri accepted an invitation from a Southern California friend to go on an “early morning target shooting trip” in the Mojave Desert. Ferri and two others drove to a shooting range in the desert, where Ferri fired one of the TEC-DC9s.

Ferri then drove back to Henderson, Nevada. On June 25, Ferri purchased the Norinco pistol, along with several hundred rounds of ammunition from the Pawn and Gun Shop in Henderson.

* * *

When San Francisco Police investigators arrived at Ferri’s Woodland Hills apartment, they found two final demand notices for Ferri’s $800 a month rent nailed to the door. (Both notices had been placed there the day of the shooting.)


Inside, they found piles of dirty dishes and an unmade bed with unclean linens. There were no pictures of family or friends. There was, however, a plethora of gun-related material.

There were no weapons. However, in addition to technical manuals for the two TEC-DC9s and a handful of promotional and sales material from Navegar, there were dozens of copies of Soldier of Fortune, Guns, Strike Force, and other survivalist and gun-related magazines. There was an ad for Hell-Fire trigger systems torn out of an issue of Guns. There was also a flyer for a 1993 Soldier of Fortune gun show.

The investigators took a sampling of the materials back to the Police’s evidence locker in San Francisco. Unclaimed, the remainder of the items were disposed of by the landlord.




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