DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Ohio

For Immediate Release

Thursday, May 31, 2018
Benjamin C. Glassman
, United States Attorney
Contact: Jennifer Thornton

Northeast Ohio Man Pleads Guilty to Buying Gun for Convicted Felon who Killed Westerville Police Officers

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Gerald A. Lawson III, 31, of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to acting as a straw purchaser for Quentin L. Smith, a convicted felon who shot and killed two Westerville Police Officers on February 10, 2018.

Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Trevor Velinor, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announced the plea entered into today before Chief U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr.

According to court documents, when Westerville Police Officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering responded to a domestic disturbance call on Cross Wind Drive in Westerville on February 10, Smith was armed with a Glock semi-automatic handgun.

As a convicted felon, Smith is prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm.

Smith provided Lawson, a longtime friend, money for the firearm and an extra $100 to compensate Lawson – who knew Smith had been convicted of a felony burglary offense and domestic violence – for buying the gun for him.

On May 18, 2017, Lawson purchased the Glock handgun at Stonewall Gun Shop and Pistol Range in Broadview Heights, Ohio. When purchasing the handgun, he lied on an ATF Firearms Transaction Record Form and said he was not acquiring it on behalf of another person.

Aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm by a prohibited person is a federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by ATF, and Assistant United States Attorney Noah R. Litton, who is prosecuting the case.

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Field Division: Columbus Field Division