MEDFORD - A Suffolk County detective claims that five months before the Medford pharmacy massacre, he warned the Pistol Licensing Bureau to take away the guns of admitted killer David Laffer, but his request was rejected.
Detective Kenneth Ripp was investigating an identity theft case at Laffer's home back in January. The Medford man admitted to stealing his mother's bank card and withdrawing $8,000 from her account. The woman never pressed charges.
According to a report filled out by Ripp, when he asked Laffer if he had any weapons in the house, Laffer said he had multiple registered weapons.
Attorney Jeffrey Goldberg, who represents Ripp, says his client couldn't confiscate the guns at the time because there were no charges filed against Laffer, but he felt that the Medford man was a threat to the public.
Goldberg says the detective then called Suffolk's Pistol License Bureau and urged officials to take away Laffer's guns. In response, Ripp was told that the weapons wouldn't be confiscated, but the bureau would follow up with its own investigation.
In June, Laffer entered Haven Drugs and shot four people in cold blood. Ripp says he was devastated when he learned that the murder weapon, a .45 caliber pistol, was in Laffer's safe the day he visited him five months prior.
In a statement, Suffolk Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said, "Any information or allegations of acts of violence or illegal drug use brought to the attention of the Police Department would have been forwarded to the Pistol License Bureau, and would have caused an immediate investigation and a suspension of a pistol license issued to a person accused of either act."
Meanwhile, during an interview inside the Suffolk County jail, Laffer went into detail with Newsday about what led him to commit the murders.
Laffer says he had lost his job and his wife, Melinda Brady, was sick. He claims she is the reason he concocted the plan to rob the store for pills she needed because they could no longer afford them.
According to Newsday, Laffer says he did not plan to kill anyone that day. Laffer says as he went to pull the gun out of the bag, it got caught on a strap and went off accidentally, hitting pharmacist Raymond Ferguson. He claims that moment is when he decided to leave no witnesses alive.
The Suffolk district attorney, however, says surveillance video clearly shows Laffer deliberately aiming and shooting.
Laffer pleaded guilty to five counts of first-degree murder and will be sentenced next month to life in prison without parole.
For an interview with Detective Kenneth Ripp's attorney, go to your digital cable box and select iO Extra on Ch. 612.
Talk with Tyrrell: Laffer jailhouse interviewAccused Medford pharmacy killer, wife plead guiltySource: Accused Medford pharmacy killer, wife to plead guiltySuspected Medford pharmacy killer indictedWakes held for victims of Medford pharmacy massacreCops: Husband, wife arrested in Medford drug-store massacre