A judge ordered the father of Jaylen Fryberg to be released after a hearing on a charge alleging the father illegally purchased the handgun his son used in the Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting.
A federal magistrate judge Thursday ordered the father of school shooter Jaylen Fryberg to be released under supervision on a charge alleging he illegally purchased the handgun his son used in the Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting in October.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Alice Theiler said Raymond Lee Fryberg Jr. could be released from federal custody pending a preliminary hearing on the felony charge, providing he not possess any guns or ammunition, or even be in a home where firearms are present.
Theiler agreed with federal prosecutors that Fryberg posed a potential “threat to the community,” particularly in light of information showing that, just months after the shooting that left his son and four classmates dead, he continued to have unsecured guns around his house in the presence of children.
However, the judge said she was assured by a report by federal Pre-Trial Services that those guns could be removed and Fryberg safely supervised.
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Fryberg’s attorney, John Henry Browne, pointed to nearly three dozen relatives who attended the hearing Thursday and disputed that his client was a threat.
“This is his community,” Browne said.
A complaint filed Monday by the FBI alleges the senior Fryberg was the subject of a permanent Tulalip Tribal Court domestic-violence restraining order when he purchased a .40-caliber Beretta handgun in January 2013 from Cabela’s sporting-goods store on the reservation.
Jaylen Fryberg, 15, used that handgun on Oct. 24 to shoot five classmates seated at a cafeteria table before turning the gun on himself. Only one teen survived.
“At the time of the purchase, [Raymond] Fryberg was the subject of a permanent protection order that prohibits him from possessing firearms,” according to a Department of Justice news release. The complaint alleges that he lied on the instant background-check form when he bought the handgun.
Browne said Fryberg did not know he was barred from possessing firearms, and he said he was even issued a concealed-carry permit before the school shootings.
He also accused the government of punishing his client for the sins of his son. “He had nothing to do with what happened at that high school,” he said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ye-Ting Woo said it was true that Fryberg had obtained a concealed-carry permit, but only because he lied on that application as well.
Those background checks should have turned up the restraining order, which was issued in 2002 after the senior Fryberg allegedly assaulted his girlfriend. In 2012, Fryberg was found in violation of the order and fined $200 and placed on probation.
Woo told the court that Fryberg had been given another copy of the permanent order at that time and knew he was banned from buying guns.
However, that restraining order was never entered into the National Crime Information Computer or state databases that are used to check on the backgrounds of would-be gun buyers.
Heather Anderson, section chief of the Washington State Patrol’s Criminal Records Division, explained that participation in the program to build those databases is voluntary, and that the Tulalip Tribes were not participating at the time.
The tribes are a participant now, she said, and restraining orders out of tribal court are entered into the system by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and recorded in Superior Court, as well.
The complaint alleges that when Fryberg purchased the gun from Cabela’s in 2013 he knew he was the subject of a permanent order — particularly because he had violated it the previous year. The complaint claims he lied on a federal firearms-purchase form.