Detroit Man Charged With the Illegal Purchase of a Firearm

Editors Note: The following press release is directly from ATF. Regular readers of AmmoLand News know our stance on the unaccountable Federal Agency: No comment. We invite our readers to leave their hard-hitting insights in the comments below.

The firearm was Later Used in the Fatal Shooting of a DPD Officer.

Don't Lie For The Other Guy
Don’t Lie For The Other Guy

DETROIT – -( A criminal complaint was filed recently charging a Detroit man with the illegal straw purchase of a firearm that was later used in the fatal shooting of a Detroit police officer, announced United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison.

Ison was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charges Paul Vanderplow, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Chief James E. White, Detroit Police Department.

The United States Attorney’s Office in Detroit charged Sheldon Avery Thomas, 26, with making a false statement in the acquisition of the firearm. Thomas made a virtual appearance in federal court this afternoon and was ordered temporarily detained pending a detention hearing on Tuesday, July 12.

According to the criminal complaint filed today, on the evening of July 6, 2022, officers from the Detroit Police Department responded to a call of shots fired in the area of Joy Road and Marlow Street on the city’s west side.

Upon arriving at the scene, an individual, later identified as Ehmani Davis, fired at the responding officers and fatally struck Officer Loren Courts. ATF agents conducted an urgent trace of the Romarm/Cugir, Draco, 7.62 caliber pistol Davis possessed during the shooting and learned that on June 7, 2022, Sheldon Avery Thomas purchased the firearm from a gun store in Eastpointe, Michigan. A review of records and surveillance video from that day shows that Thomas purchased the Draco firearm and later met with Davis in a nearby parking lot. Thomas is alleged to have made false statements in the acquisition of the firearm by stating he was the actual purchaser of the firearm and was not buying it for another person.

“The tragic death of Officer Courts is one more terrible example of what happens when guns are supplied to those who are prohibited from possessing them. Purchasing a gun for someone who is legally prohibited from possessing it can land you in prison for 10 years,” stated U.S. Attorney Ison. “Our office will continue to focus on the drivers of violence, which includes both those who commit violent crimes using firearms and those who help them obtain firearms illegally. This case should serve as a warning to those thinking about straw purchasing firearms – you will face federal charges.”

“Straw purchases “lying and buying” is not a victimless crime. The men and women at the AFT will find and remove those individuals from the community who enable violent criminals terrorizing our State,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Paul Vanderplow. “ATF stands proudly with our Federal, state and local law enforcement partners within the State of Michigan to prosecute these individuals. As promised, commit crimes with firearms, find out the ATF will be at your door.”

“As we all grieve the shocking and devastating loss of our hero, Officer Courts, Detroit Police Department (DPD) remains steadfast in its mission to serve and protect,” Chief James E. White said. “We will continue to collaborate with our local and federal partners to stop these dangerous individuals from victimizing our community. We sincerely appreciate the efforts and commitment of the ATF and the US Attorney’s Office in this matter.”

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Trial cannot be held on felony charges in a complaint. When the investigation is completed, determinations will be made whether to seek a felony indictment.

This case is being investigated by agents of the ATF and officers of the Detroit Police Department.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Barbara Lanning.

Detroit Field Division

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

ATF is the federal law enforcement agency responsible for investigating violations of the federal firearms and explosives laws and regulations. More information about ATF and its programs can be found at

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ( ATF )

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F atf!!!! And their extended families and their dogs!!!

ammoland – stop carrying their water.

the only thing I want to hear about atf is is the agency disbanded and the names and home addresses of the unconstitutional ss assholes that work there.

F’ em!


“spend the rest of his life behind bars”…this is Detroit…he’ll end up with a sentence of 2 to 5 years and be out in 9 months. I could be wrong but I’ve seen it too many times in the 30 years I’ve lived here.


There was a case in Texas a few years back, I don’t remember all of the details or names, but the Straw Buyer was Convicted of over a hundred violations. His punishment? 6 months Probation.


I’m of the opinion, that if someone is violent enough to warrant a permanent removal of their 2nd Amendment Rights, then they’re too Fecking Violent to be released from Prison.


Being a dumb ass to meet in a parking lot, is enough of a reason for jail. Stupidity at it’s finest. Don’t forget to bring your your cellphone (tracking device). Don’t forget to leave the serial numbers on the firearm. LMAO

Last edited 1 year ago by Arny

that guy deserves to go to jail for being dumb enough to do a transfer in the middle of a wide open parking lot. if it were not for the ATF an the government infringing on the 2nd Amendment a straw purchase would not have been needed. Who are they to prohibit anybody from owning a gun. It sure does not state anything about prohibitions in the 2nd Amendment.


Much as we disparage many of BATFE’s actions, even a blind pig finds an occasional truffle. Kudos for them and the DPD in quickly tracking down the straw man involved in this purchase. He should be prosecuted as an accessory before the fact to the murder of Officer Courts and spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Wild Bill

Hmmm. Yes, yes of course, authority for that is in the “straw man purchase” clause of the Second Amendment.


It’s right after the part that says you can’t have a cannon.

Rob J

This was a violation of law to transfer said firearm to a prohibited person, not an infringement against the Second Amendment. The prohibited status may be in question regarding the Second Amendment, given his actions it appears it was likely warranted, but that was not in consideration regarding the legality of transfer which is the issue at hand. The only need of the BATF in this instance was to perform a mere secretarial database inquiry (looking to see if the firearm was a recent purchase and to whom it was sold) then informing local law enforcement of what was found.… Read more »

Wild Bill

The Code of Federal Regulations is based the statute that offends the Constitution. Thus the CFR section also offends the Constitution.
The bureaucrats that draft the CFRs can not add qualifiers to the underlying statute or the Constitution. Judges can not add qualifiers to the Constitution that are not there. Legislators can not add qualifiers to the Constitution in statutes, except by prior Constitutional amendment.

Rob J

Understandable, yet I am speaking of USC not CFR. Specifically 18 U.S.C. § 922(d) and (g) which was enacted by congress. Yes, it is part of the GCA, which is recognized as a violation of the Second and needs to be taken to the USSC. But it is currently a law, passed by congress, that when taken in specificity to outline a legally restricted citizen is not in direct conflict with the Second. The broad application of the GCA is a direct violation, but specifics within it are not. Prohibited persons were historically recognized prior to the establishment of the… Read more »


Any law that infringes on a person’s right to buy or transfer a weapon is null and void because it would infringe on that persons 2nd Amendment right to do weapons things. You could be charged with 3rd party intent to do harm to another person by whatever means, but the weapon transfer itself can not be unlawful.


Rob J

The knowing transfer of the firearm to a currently defined prohibited person under 18 U.S.C. § 922(d) (transferee) and (g) (transferor) is the specific violation in question. The object (firearm) was not illegal as it was a legal purchase and transfer to the owner. The owner committed a crime by knowingly transferring the firearm to the prohibited person. If this was a private sale and the owner had no way of knowing, then he is an innocent person. But to purchase a firearm, and then meet with the prohibited individual in the parking lot to transfer the firearm… there is… Read more »


There may not be everything right with this scenario, however, I do not trust the government to determine that. They are at gross fault in so many other areas. If I decide to sell a weapon to a person, and It is not my intent that the person use the weapon to do a bad thing, and he seems alright to me, then I am innocent of any crime he may commit at a later date. I have done the above described thing more than once, and I do not feel comfortable about the government laying their absolute hands on… Read more »


And yet Hunter Buyden gets away scott free !


It seems to me that anyone convicted of a violent felony should be removed from free society, and be removed from the “gene pool”, until that person PROVES that he has been rehabilited. Non-violent felons should have the right to defend themselves. This way, “Straw Purchases” couldn’t happen, and I wouldn’t feel the pressing need to be ready to defend myself at all times.


Two violent strikes your dead.

absolutely NO REASON to maintain violent felons.


“This case is being investigated by agents of the ATF and officers of the Detroit Police Department.”


Ammoland – please continue to post these press releases from the BATFE.

Maybe with an unending stream of data showing that state, county, city/town enforcers routinely assist the BATFE, some of the “back the blue no matter what they do” types will wake up.