Newport man accused of shooting at undercover officer with illegally obtained pistol

RICHLAND, WASHINGTON. – The man is accused of illegal acquisition of firearms and use of these firearms to shoot at an undercover officer.

Kenneth Rankin Gaswell II, 47, of Newport, Washington, tried to rob an ATF special agent under cover at gunpoint. He and an agent were shot during an attempted robbery, and FBI agents found a 9mm Glock Model 17 Gazzaway pistol.

Gazzaway acquired the Glock Model 17 along with several other firearms in August 2021. He allegedly purchased eleven other pistols in two bulk purchases, with at least three of those firearms found during a criminal investigation less than 100 days after he purchased them.

The basis of Gazaway’s federal allegations is that he knowingly did not state that he used methamphetamine when he acquired a firearm. He was accused of making false statements about acquiring firearms and obtaining a federal firearms license. He is also accused of possessing a firearm with an erased serial number.

“Part of making East Washington a safe and strong community is ensuring that weapons are in the hands of only those people who should have them,” said U.S. Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref. “There is a reason that forms of buying firearms require potential buyers to report whether they are abusing illicit drugs.”

Gazavey is currently in custody pending trial. If convicted on all charges, he faces up to 45 years in federal prison.

“Sir, Gazaway allegedly made false statements when purchasing firearms, including firearms that were allegedly used shortly afterwards in connection with the crimes – including the shooting of one of our agents,” said a special agent of the field department. ATF Seattle Jonathan T. McPherson: “This case demonstrates the danger of the acquisition and possession of firearms by illicit drug users. We will vigorously investigate all those who illegally acquire or possess firearms, especially if these firearms fall into the hands of others. crimes. “

The case is being investigated by the ATF and is being prosecuted by Caitlin A. Bownsgard, the U.S. Assistant Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

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