Credit card used to buy AR-15 rifle in New Mexico shooting

Police confirm the gunman's father used a credit card to pay for part of a transaction that included the weapon purchase

The father of an active shooter who killed three elderly women in Farmington, New Mexico, on May 15 used a Visa credit card a few months before the attack to pay for part of the purchase of an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle used in the attack. 

The image of a sales receipt dated Dec. 18, 2022 from a local retailer, Sportsman’s Warehouse in Farmington, shows the retailer sold that “BRO SPEC15,” for $709.99 pre-tax. The name refers to the manufacturer, Black Rain Ordnance, and the model, SPEC15, an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

Included on the receipt was the customer’s name, which Farmington, N.M. police confirmed was the shooter’s father. The receipt showed a split transaction, with $452.82 put on the Visa credit card, and the $400 balance paid using an unidentified debit card.

In an email to Payments Dive, Shanice Gonzales, public information officer for the Farmington Police Department, confirmed the Visa transaction belonged to the shooter’s father, but said the department has yet to identify the owner of the debit card used in the transaction. Visa didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gonzales also confirmed a firearms transaction record from Dec. 18 shows the shooter became the owner of the AR-15 used in the May 15 attack. 

On May 15, the gunman shot 141 rounds from his home, killing three women over the age of 70, according to the Albuquerque Journal newspaper. The gunman left his home and dropped the AR-15 in nearby bushes before using handguns owned by his father to fire at other people as he walked through the neighborhood. The gunman was to have graduated high school the day after the attack, but died in a shootout with police. 

In addition to the three women killed, six other people were injured in the shooting, including a Farmington police sergeant and a New Mexico state police officer, the news report said. Police have not determined a motive, but said initial reports from the gunman’s family said he was struggling with mental health issues.

Farmington, N.M., is about 145 miles northwest of Albuquerque, and is located in the northwestern part of the state, near the Four Corners region of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah. It has a population of about 46,600 people and has been known for oil and gas production.

This is piece is part of a Payments Dive series on how active shooters pay for guns.


By Debbie Carlson on June 26, 2023
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