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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Michigan
Dawn N. Ison, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Straw Purchaser of Gun That Killed Detroit Police Officer Sentenced to Prison

DETROIT – A Detroit man was sentenced today to two years in prison for purchasing a Draco pistol for his friend, Ehmani Davis, who would go on to use the firearm in the killing of Detroit Police Officer Loren Courts, United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced today.

Ison was joined in the announcement by Craig Kailimai Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Sheldon Thomas, age 27, of Detroit, Michigan, was sentenced by United States District Judge Gershwin Drain. According to court documents and statements made in court, on June 7, 2022, Thomas bought a Century Arms Draco pistol in Eastpointe, Michigan. Thomas admitted to lying on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Federal Firearms Transaction Record Form 4473, by falsely certifying that he was the buyer of the firearm when he knew he was purchasing it for Ehmani Davis.

Thomas gave Davis the firearm on the day of the purchase. Thomas admitted that Davis gave him the money to buy the firearm. Thomas further admitted that he made multiple attempts to purchase a handgun for Davis.

“The tragic death of Detroit Police Officer Loren Courts is another terrible example of what happens when guns are supplied to those who are prohibited from possessing them,” said U.S. Attorney Ison. “Fighting violent crime is a top priority in our office, and we are committed to holding accountable those who engage in illicit firearm transactions.”

“The loss of Detroit Police Officer Courts was a tragedy that could have been prevented. There are serious consequences that can come from illegally purchasing firearms for prohibited individuals. A critical part of ATF’s mission is to stop violent criminals from possessing firearms before a loss of life occurs,” said, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Craig Kailimai “We will continue to work side by side with our U.S. Attorney’s, federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to make our communities safer.”

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Lanning.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

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