NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A police report released Friday shows that a Suffolk County detective was concerned about David Laffer having a pistol permit months before the Medford pharmacy massacre.
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports
The report says Detective Kenneth Ripp was called out to the Laffer’s home five months earlier to investigate an identity theft claim. According to the report, Laffer’s mother told police her son admitted stealing her debit card and taking cash out of her bank account.
To read the full police report, click here.
As detectives were questioning Laffer and his mother, they found out there were “several handguns and rifles” inside the home, the report says, and that all were registered with pistol permits.
That’s when Ripp called the Suffolk County Pistol License Bureau to check on Laffer’s gun permits and to ask if they should take the guns away. According to Ripp’s attorney, Jeffrey Goldberg, his client warned police that Laffer might be dangerous, and told the bureau that they should seize Laffer’s guns.
“When he found out who the suspect was and that [he] used a handgun, he was very upset because these guns could have been removed prior to this horrible incident,” Goldberg told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.
The officer at the Pistol License Bureau said the guns could stay with the Laffers, but that she would let her supervisor know about the investigation. The License Bureau said its hands were tied because Laffer had not been arrested and his mother had refused to press charges against her son.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer issued the following statement. “Prior to the horrific murders at Haven Drugs, the Suffolk County Police Department received no information from any source indicating that Mr. Laffer was a Drug Abuser. Any information or allegations of acts of violence or illegal drug use brought to the attention of the Police Department would have been forwarded to the Pistol License Bureau and would have caused an immediate investigation and a suspension of a Pistol License issued to a person accused of either act.”
Dormer also released another statement Friday evening saying “Newsday’s story recklessly trashes the reputations of officers in the Pistol License Bureau who followed each and every procedure required under the police department’s procedures and New York State and Federal Law.”
The statement went on to say that the Newsday story gave the victims’ families “unsubstantiated and 100 percent false belief” that the suspect’s guns could have been taken away in January.
“I just think it’s disgusting that my daughter could be alive today, if it wasn’t for Suffolk County,” said Ralph Taccetta, whose daughter Jamie, was among those killed.
However, Suffolk’s pistol license handbook says there is wide lattitude — that police may rescind a gun permit if they feel there is a danger, CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.
WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall: Could The Murders Have Been Prevented?
Meanwhile, Laffer spoke about the shootings in a jailhouse interview with Newsday.
“Oh no, look what I did now,” is what Laffer says he thought just after he shot pharmacist Raymond Ferguson in the gut.
Even though he brought a loaded .45 caliber handgun into the pharmacy he and his wife Melinda Brady planned on robbing, he says he didn’t intend to shoot anyone. Instead, Laffer reportedly claims he was trying to pull the gun out of a backpack when it got snagged on a strap and went off.
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota has his own opinion of Laffer’s claim.
“He’s an outrageous liar,” Spota said.
Spota says Laffer’s claims directly contradict statements he swore to in court and evidence seen in surveillance video.
“The video clearly shows he deliberately raises his backpack, aims and shoots,” Spota told Newsday. “Questions were put to him under oath about every shot he fired and he swore to the court every shot was intentional and he acknowledged he intended to kill everybody, including the pharmacist.”
Laffer reportedly said he brought in a loaded gun because he was aware that another would-be robber had previously tried to use an empty gun and got jumped. That incident happened a few months prior in Patchogue.
In the interview, Laffer acknowledged he planned to leave no witnesses. He also expressed regret for the killings, particularly for shooting Jaime Taccetta, who was planning her wedding.
“I know she was dealing with limos, and plans like that. I feel very remorseful over that. Very regretful,” Laffer said.
Laffer is set to be sentenced to life without parole on Oct. 17 following his guilty plea. He currently gets a cordon of correction officers accompanying him anywhere he goes, but he knows that won’t last.
“I’m not even under any illusions that I’d make it 15 years,” he said.
What do you make of Laffer’s remarks? Sound off in our comments section.