MIAMI — The spray of bullets that killed a police officer and hurt three others this week came from something increasingly common on this city’s streets: a high-powered assault weapon, fast becoming the gun of choice for gang members and violent criminals.
A week after four Oakland police officers were gunned down by a parolee with a semiautomatic weapon, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Councilman Jack Weiss on Friday called for the federal government to reinstate a ban on assault weapons. Before heading to the Bay Area Friday morning for the funerals of the Oakland police officers, the mayor and councilman called for the renewal of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which prevented the sale of most semiautomatic weapons. Officials estimate that one in five law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty is killed with an assault weapon.
Marinette County Sheriff Jim Kanikula said nine young adults, five from Michigan and four from Wisconsin, had gathered near a train bridge on the Menominee River Thursday evening when the gunman came out of the woods and shot the four.
Tiffany Pohlson, 17, Anthony Spigarelli, 18, and Bryan Mort, 19, were killed. Daniel Louis Gordon, 20, was wounded. All were from Michigan.
Authorities said the ease with which a convicted felon obtained the assault weapon he used to murder Oakland police officers points to the challenges of keeping serious firepower off the city’s murder-plagued streets.