Is gun shop liable after two MPD officers were shot? Badger Guns salesman who sold gun testifies

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MILWAUKEE -- It is a groundbreaking case to determine whether a gun shop is liable for a shooting in which two Milwaukee police officers were severely injured. The man who pulled the trigger is already behind bars -- but what about the West Milwaukee gun shop that sold the gun?

The officers are suing for negligence and want financial compensation from owners of the former Badger Guns store -- and Thursday, October 1st was the second day of trial.

In June of 2009, the lives of two Milwaukee police officers were changed forever.

Officers Bryan Norberg and Graham Kunisch struggle with shooting suspect Julius Burton

Officers Bryan Norberg and Graham Kunisch struggle with shooting suspect Julius Burton

Officers Bryan Norberg and Graham Kunisch were shot in Milwaukee's south side.

There was a physical confrontation between the two officers and Julius Burton, who opened fire, seriously injuring both officers. Burton shot the officers after they stopped him for riding his bike on the sidewalk.

They survived and are still on the force -- and Burton, who has a history of mental illness, is now serving an 80-year prison sentence.

There are rules when it comes to selling guns, and responsibilities. The question a jury must now decide: Did Badger Guns turn a blind eye to warning signs that this was an illegal sale?

Surveillance video shows 18-year-old Julius Burton in a black shirt with red sleeves, inside Badger Guns with Jacob Collins, who can be seen wearing a dark hoodie.

Julius Burton and Jacob Collins

Julius Burton and Jacob Collins

Burton paid Collins $40 to fill out forms and purchase a gun -- because Burton was too young to do so.

Burton would use the gun one month later -- shooting Officer Norberg and Officer Kunisch after they stopped him for riding his bike on a sidewalk.

Badger Guns

Badger Guns

The question now: Did Donald Flora, the Badger Guns salesman, overlook signs this was an illegal purchase -- a straw buy? Signs such as the crossing out of answers on the form Collins filled out -- even changing basic information, such as his address.

Flora was the first to take the stand as testimony began on Thursday.

This question was asked of Flora in court:

"As a screener of straw buyers, if you see someone who has problems with the answers shouldn't that raise at least a question in your mind as to whether they may be trying to hide something?"

Donald Flora

Donald Flora

"Looking at that form and the way it was filled out -- he had problems figuring out his race and what country he lived in prior to getting to the address," Flora said.

Flora said Collins had difficulty with the written word in general, and he didn't think it was suspicious. Flora said he also didn't think it was suspicious when Collins and Burton went outside the store because they were short on cash -- returning with more money.

"The last thing we want to do is put a gun in someone's hands. We want to do what's right," Flora said.

Julius Burton and Jacob Collins

Julius Burton and Jacob Collins

Burton is already serving 80 years in prison for the shooting.

Collins went to prison for two years for buying the gun.

The question for the jury is whether Badger Guns is liable, and if so, how much they should pay in this case.

Badger Guns is now known as Brew City Shooter's Supply and is still a family business.

4 comments

  • Opinion8d

    So it’s okay to discriminate when buying a gun – a Constitutional right??? Voting is a right, and we used to give people a literacy tests to determine if they were allowed to vote – a way to stop people from voting. Now the gun shop is supposed to deny rights of the ‘poor and ignorant’ people of society??? Sounds strange to me. The guy who bought the gun is the guy who should be sued -but then he doesn’t have the deep pockets/insurance. If it were blatant straw buying that’s one thing, but imagine if some minority was treated the same way when trying to vote!!!!

    • mr burnt toast

      So if an election observer sees someone give another person a ballot and ask them to put it in a ballot box for them, they should do nothing? I can see that you are mad about something, but can’t quite fathom your logic.

  • Donnu

    When did it ever become an pimento ride a bike on the side walk the county is a discrimination and the aproach the used was way out of line

Comments are closed.

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