Deputies ask federal help to trace gun used in Hobson City shooting
by Madasyn Czebiniak
mczebiniak@annistonstar.com
Jan 13, 2014 | 5755 views |  0 comments | 64 64 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Local investigators are seeking federal help to learn how a man they say shot his girlfriend before taking his own life came to have the handgun he used.

Local law enforcement officials have said that Johnny Austin Evans, 34, of Hobson City, was barred by law from owning or possessing firearms because of a previous manslaughter conviction. The Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office has requested the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives help trace the gun they believe Evans used.

Authorities say Evans shot his 22-year-old girlfriend, Tuy Kim Truong, once in the head and once in the neck before shooting himself Wednesday at his Council Avenue home. She was taken to Regional Medical Center and was later transferred to UAB Hospital in Birmingham.

Calhoun County Sheriff’s deputies said Monday that Truong had been released from the hospital.

Evans, who was found in the backyard of his home, died from a single gunshot wound to the head, according to Calhoun County Coroner Pat Brown.

In 1998, Evans, then 19, was convicted of manslaughter in connection with the 1996 shooting death of Christopher Jackson of Hobson City.

Evans was released from prison on parole in January 2010, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections. His sentence was to have ended in 2015.

According to state law, anyone convicted of a violent crime is forbidden to own or possess a pistol. Matthew Wade, chief deputy of the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office, said Monday that authorities still don’t know whether the .40-caliber automatic pistol used in the shooting belonged to Evans.

Wade said it is not hard for those convicted of felonies to obtain guns.

Michael Knight, a public information officer with ATF, said the two common ways felons obtain firearms is by stealing them or by getting those with clean records to buy them.

Wade said some even obtain them from people authorities refer to as “fences.”

“Fences are those who buy and sell stolen goods,” Wade said.

Wade said it is difficult to trace firearms because there is no legal requirement to report gun sales to the government. There is also no state law in which a bill of sale for a firearm is required.

“We may or may not be able to track a gun,” Wade said.

Knight said that a trace may allow agents to determine where a gun has been bought or sold and can also determine if it has ever been stolen. Once the ATF receives a request it takes one to three days to trace a firearm depending on the circumstance, he said. In cases like Evans’, it would be 24 hours, Knight said.

The date of Evans’ funeral had not been determined as of Monday. It will be announced by Anniston Funeral Services, according to an obituary in Friday’s Star.

Staff writer Madasyn Czebiniak: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @MCzebiniak_Star.
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