Walmart shooter bought gun from Logan police cadet: Clearfield girl died in shootout

Mar 31 2011 - 8:42pm



PORT ORCHARD, Wash. -- The gun used by a Utah fugitive to shoot two sheriff's deputies, kill a 13-year-old Clearfield girl and commit suicide, was originally owned by a Logan man who became a cop.

Anthony A. Martinez, 31, purchased the .40 caliber Glock he used to shoot the deputies, Astrid Valdivia and himself Jan. 23 at the Port Orchard Walmart, for $650 from a coworker at a dairy processing plant in Logan, Utah.

The man who sold the gun to Martinez was a former Utah police academy cadet who didn't complete the training to become an officer, according to the Washington State Patrol's investigation into the Walmart shooting. The aspiring cop purchased the gun from a fellow police academy classmate, who is now a police officer in Logan.

The state patrol had help in tracking the firearm's history from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The results were outlined in an e-mail from a federal agent to the state patrol's lead detective. The e-mail was obtained by the Kitsap Sun through a public records request from the Kitsap County Prosecutor's Office.

Martinez, wanted for kidnapping Valdivia -- she had run away from home and joined him -- and alerted to authorities by a Port Orchard woman who questioned their relationship, used a .40 caliber Glock to fire a total of 12 shots in the Walmart parking lot after deputies approached him. He shot two of the deputies before a third, Deputy Krista McDonald, hit him in the knee with one of the seven shots she fired from her .40 caliber Glock. As Martinez fell to the ground, he shot Valdivia, who was running toward him, before turning the gun on himself, the state patrol found.

ATF traced Martinez's Glock back to its original purchase. An agent found the weapon was first sold between police academy classmates in 2004. The man, who would eventually become a Logan cop, sold it then to a man who did not pass police academy training.

That man eventually sold the gun to someone he worked with at a dairy processing plant -- a man he knew only as "Tony" -- in late 2007 or early 2008.

Listen to select audio clips from the Walmart shooting in which Astrid Valdivia was killed:

"Tony" turned out to be Martinez, who, after pleading guilty to felony drug charges in 2005 and aggravated assault charges in 2002, would not be allowed to possess a firearm unless he petitioned to get his rights back to own a gun.

But selling the gun to Martinez was not necessarily illegal.

Background checks aren't required when guns are bought and sold between private parties in Utah, said Doug Anderson, a police lieutenant in Utah's state bureau of criminal identification.

The seller on the private market must knowingly sell a gun to a "prohibited" person -- a felon, for instance -- to be criminally liable, Anderson said. In this case, ATF found the man who sold Martinez the gun didn't know that Martinez was prohibited from owning a gun.

Regardless, Anderson said buying through a private party is the only way Martinez would be able to buy a gun in Utah.

"This man would never have been able to purchase a gun from a federally licensed firearms dealer," he said.

There was one other "interesting thing," ATF agents noted after interviewing the man who sold the gun to Martinez.

"In the fall of 2010 he said he received a phone call from 'Tony' asking him if he had any other firearms for sale and that he was looking for a Beretta," the e-mail said.

Josh Farley is a reporter for The Sun in Bremerton, Wash.

Watch raw surveillance video of the incident:

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