A Newton woman faces a charge of supplying Hesston shooter Cedric Ford, a convicted felon, with firearms.
In the wake of last Thursday’s mass shooting at Excel Industries in Hesston, the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Sarah T. Hopkins, 28, with one count of knowingly transferring a firearm to a convicted felon.
Meanwhile, the shooting prompted comments from Barton County District Judge Ron Svaty and from the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV) in Topeka.
As he sentenced felons Friday to probation, Judge Svaty took time to remind them that they can’t own firearms or live with someone who has firearms in the residence. He said he expects enforcement will become tighter following the mass shooting.
Ford, armed with what police called an “assault-style” weapon, killed three people and injured 14 others before he was killed by a police officer who rushed into the Excel Industries building alone.
“This man (Ford) was a convicted felon,” Svaty said as he sentenced burglar Jeremy Hood to 24 months probation and warned him about the restrictions he faces. “I think laws will be even more strictly enforced.”
A few minutes later, Svaty repeated his warning to Cori Galliart, who was being sentenced to 18 months probation.
“I really think the federal (enforcement) will step up – I don’t care who becomes president – because of this,” Svaty said. He also encouraged Galliart to seek treatment for his methamphetamine addiction.
Kansas law also prohibits selling or giving a gun to a convicted felon.
U.S. Attorney Barry Grissoms’s office in Wichita reported that an affidavit filed in the Hopkins case alleges she knew Ford was a convicted felon who was prohibited from possessing a firearm when she gave him a Zastava Serbia, AK-47 type semi-automatic rifle and a Glock Model 22 40-caliber handgun.
Cedric had the guns when he was shot and killed by the officer Thursday.
If convicted, Hopkins faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.
Also weighing in Friday on the shootings in Hesston, the Topeka-based KCSDV issued a statement: “As information is released, KCSDV and others are learning of the connection to domestic violence. A protection from abuse order was served on the shooter a short time before this rampage began.”
The statement cited a national analysis on mass shootings that shows “significant numbers of them are related to domestic violence, usually with the victim of domestic violence and/or children and family members also being killed. ... When victims reach out for help or attempt to leave an abusive relationship, the abuser’s violence may increase or become more lethal. This is why 24-hour advocacy services are so critical for victims.”
“Domestic violence impacts everyone and every community in Kansas, and sadly this shooting is another example of that impact,” said Joyce Grover, executive director of the KCSDV. “Our condolences go out to the people impacted by this shooting.