CHICAGO (CBS) — New details emerged Tuesday night about the gun used in the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center shooting incident, and the convicted felon who should not have had a gun in the first place.
CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported Tuesday night on the journey the gun took to Chicago.
The gun was stolen a few weeks ago from a store just south of Indianapolis. It not only crossed state lines, but it got into the hands of Bernard Harvey Jr., 40 – a man convicted of multiple felonies who is now accused of firing a high-powered rifle at the VA hospital on Monday.
Federal prosecutors say Harvey entered the hospital Monday afternoon carrying a Ruger rifle. He first fired the rifle into the hospital entrance on Taylor Street – shattering the glass – and then shots from the assault rifle continued inside, authorities said.
Harvey dropped the rifle when police surrounded him. Prosecutors said he fired nine shots altogether in the Monday incident, which began around 2:30 p.m.
The FBI is now investigating how the convicted felon got his hands on a stolen gun and carried it across state lines.
Charging documents say the gun used in the VA shooting was stolen July 27 from a federally licensed store in Indiana.
Dramatic surveillance video was released from a gun store robbery just outside of Indianapolis from that same day – July 27. It shows the thieves smashing the display cases.
More than 30 guns stolen in just minutes – among them a Ruger PC Carbine 9mm rifle. That is the very same type of rifle that Harvey allegedly used on Monday.
Several teens have been arrested in connection with the Indiana heist.
Harvey’s role was unclear late Tuesday. Questions still remained Tuesday night as to how Harvey got his hands on the high powered rifle or what motivated him to shoot the hospital.
A relative said Harvey has a history of mental health challenges. He has been in and out of prison on felony gun and drug charges going back to 1998.
A VA representative said the hospital has already made adjustments since the shooting on Monday.
If Harvey is convicted of federal charges of illegal possession of a firearm, he could face up to 10 years in prison.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report last year talking in part about how critical security is at VA hospitals nationwide.
It states all VA hospitals need fencing around the perimeter, security cameras, distress alarms, and a police force. But security levels differ hospital by hospital and there is little oversight.
Much of Jesse Brown is surrounded by barriers and security cameras. It is not clear how the man got in with the rifle.
On Monday, the Taylor Street gate was open, but taped off after the shooting.