Skip to main content
Publish date:

Charges: Man lied when buying gun later used by St. Paul mass shooting suspect

He's accused of making false statements during the purchase of a firearm.
Jerome Horton - Sherburne Co. Jail - CROP

Federal prosecutors say a Minnesota man illicitly bought a semiautomatic pistol later used in the mass shooting at Seventh Street Truck Park.

Jerome F. Horton of Minneapolis was charged with illegally purchasing firearms, the U.S. Attorney's Office District of Minnesota announced Wednesday. The criminal complaint lays out an alleged "straw purchase" scheme, in which Horton, when purchasing a gun, would say he was the "actual buyer" of the firearm — when in reality the weapon was for someone else. 

A "straw purchase" is often done when an individual who wants to buy a gun is barred from possessing a firearm or can't pass the required checks.

Among Horton's illegal purchases, authorities say, is a Mossberg model MC2C 9mm semiautomatic, serial number 017520MC, which he bought from the Blaine Fleet Farm on July 31.

That same gun was recovered from a vehicle just outside the St. Paul food hall and bar after the Oct. 10 shooting, which left 27-year-old Marquisha D. Wiley dead and 15 others injured, the criminal complaint states. According to the charges, one of the suspected shooters — Devondre Trevon Phillips, who is charged with a dozen counts of attempted murder — can be seen on surveillance video firing a gun, leaving the bar and entering a vehicle with the weapon still in his possession. When he gets back out of that car, he is no longer holding the gun.

Related: Murder charges in food hall mass shooting reveal details from chaotic scene

Investigators found the Mossberg 9mm in that vehicle, the charges allege.

The criminal complaint against Horton revealed Wednesday does not say how the weapon ended up with the charged St. Paul shooting suspect. But it does accuse Horton of buying 32 additional guns from June 15 through Oct. 17.

Agents digging into these purchases — which were made at a handful of retailers across the Twin Cities — found evidence they say points to straw purchases. Horton, the charges say:

  • Was sometimes accompanied by multiple other people when buying a firearm
  • In one instance, he parked outside of a surveillance camera's view
  • Made multiple gun purchases over just a few days
  • Took a phone call while at one store, and told the caller he was still inside
  • Paid cash and used small denominations
  • Can be seen on camera, after one purchase, holding up gun boxes in the parking lot, waving them in the air toward a waiting group
  • Had no firearms at the residence he listed on his purchasing forms, per an Oct. 19 search of the home

Horton, following his arrest Tuesday, denied engaging in straw purchases, though told investigators he sold seven guns to four different people, according to the charges. He also said 10-15 of the guns had been stolen, first telling agents they had been in a van that was stolen, then claiming they'd been taken after he stashed them near a St. Paul strip club, the charges state.

Horton is charged with making false statements during the purchase of a firearm, the U.S. Attorney's Office said, and made his first court appearance Wednesday.

Next Up

Karl-Anthony Towns

KAT sets a franchise record, leaves early in loss to Wizards

Towns fell on his back in the final minutes of a loss in Washington.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Man shot by police in Forest Lake dies from injuries

It was one of two police shootings in the Twin Cities on the same day, both of which proved fatal.

Dylan Bundy

Report: Twins agree to deal with Dylan Bundy

The Twins signed the right-hander with a lockout imminent.

Flickr - face masks covid pole - Ivan Radic

'Everyone should really be masking up' in public, Malcolm says

The health commissioner said residents have gotten "a little bit lax" with some protective measures.

Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton believes he's the best player in baseball

"Nobody [does] the things that I do. I know that."

unsplash medical marijuana

Edibles coming to Minnesota's medical marijuana program

MDH also announced it will not add anxiety as qualifying condition.

plow, snowplow, snow

Plowable snow possible this weekend in Minnesota

Up to half a foot of snow could fall within the heaviest band.

Best Buy - jjbers, Flickr

Police reveal new details about 'coordinated' Best Buy thefts

A large group stole thousands of dollars in merchandise from three Twin Cities Best Buy stores.

Seven Points exterior - 2

New tenant revealed for former Libertine spot in Uptown

The space will combine playful art offerings with a restaurant.

white Christmas

What are Minnesota's chances of a white Christmas this year?

The Twin Cities averages a white Christmas about 3 out of every 4 years.

ilhan omar press conference voicemail screengrab 11.30.21

'You will not live much longer b***': Rep. Omar shares threatening voicemail

Omar's office received the call hours after Rep. Boebert posted her video about the MN congresswoman.

Screen Shot 2021-12-01 at 11.24.09 AM

ESPN's 'Booger' makes fun of Wild fans' record cup snake

He's the same guy who thought the "Minneapolis Miracle" was bad for the Vikings.

Related

Devondre Trevon Phillips (left), pictured in 2012, and Terry Lorenzo Brown (right), pictured in 2020.

Murder charges in food hall mass shooting reveal details from chaotic scene

Two people face a dozen felonies apiece in connection with the deadly shootout.

mn state capitol january 17 2021

'Boogaloo Boi' from MN pleads guilty to federal machine gun charges

He also alleged he was helping to plot an attack on the State Capitol.

Screen Shot 2021-10-11 at 8.41.45 AM

Sheriff predicted violence night before mass shooting at St. Paul bar

One person was killed and 14 others were injured in the shootout.

Screen Shot 2021-10-10 at 7.07.37 AM

After mass shooting, food truck hall will 'remain closed in the coming days'

The St. Paul business posted an update Monday afternoon.

thomas moseley

Blaine man accused of rioting now charged with federal gun crimes

He's accused of carrying a gun while being a drug user.

marquisha wiley (1)

Woman killed in St. Paul mass shooting identified as 27-year-old

Those who knew her said she was a vet tech with a big heart.

Chee Kong Yang

Charges: St. Paul man gunned down man leaving work

The Dec. 26 killing was St. Paul's 31st homicide of 2019.