Monday, January 06, 2014

PA:Gun Shop Owner Goes Down Fighting

Entrance to Frank's Gun Shop by Ashley Hardway

It appears that Frank Petro, the owner of Frank's Gun and Taxidermy Shop in Tunnelton, Pennsylvania, was being extorted by Jack Edmunson, who was poising as a dirty undercover police officer.    Frank found out that Jack Edmunson was a fake, and went to a lawyer to see if he could recover the money, somewhere over $130,000.  Edmunson is reported to have threatened Petro with arrest and jail if Petro did not turn over lottery winnings to him.  Police have not yet found anything illegal about Petro's actions, but are investigating.

Edmunson seems to have decided that murder was the way out of this mess.  From
That led to Tuesday's shooting, police said, when Edmundson walked about 200 yards from the Tunnelton Inn parking lot to Frank's Gun and Taxidermy Shop. Police said surveillance video showed Edmundson walk inside the store, take a pistol from the display case and point it at Petro as he returned from a back room. They said he shot Petro twice, and Petro fell to the ground.
But Frank Petro was tougher than Edmundson figured. Petro manages to shoot his attacker as Edmundson is pouring black powder and accelerant around the store preparatory to torching it.  Edmundson shoots Petro in the head to finish him off, then calls 911 because of his wound.
Investigators then said Edmundson poured a black powder and an accelerant around the gun shop, at which point Petro fired at Edmundson, wounding him in the leg. Police said video shows Edmundson walk over to Petro and shoot him a third and fourth time in the face.
Edmundson tries to claim that the shooting was in self defense, but the video reveals everything. Edmunson was a police officer in 1995, but was convicted of stealing as part of a drug task force. He since worked as a paramedic and as a confidential informant for the state police.

Frank's Gun and Taxidermy shop is in Tunnelton, a rural area of Pennsylvania. The shooting occurred on January 1st.

Incredibly, an anti-rights blogger at is claiming that if only Frank Petro, the gun shop owner, had not had any guns, he would have been better off. They spout the usual false talking points:
Every life is precious, but multiple studies show that a gun is far, far more likely to cost you your life than to protect you, as Mr. Petro and others have found out.
I find the argument silly. Edmundson had already decided to murder Frank Petro and burn down the shop to cover it up. Does any sane person believe that if it had not been a gun shop, that Edmundson would not have come up with another gun or another method to murder Petro with? I believe it far more likely that if Frank Petro would not have had guns, Edmundson would have been successful in his murder/arson. Instead, while Frank Petro died at the hands of an extremely dangerous criminal with police training, that criminal's career has been ended and likely will no longer endanger the community.

We can regret that Frank Petro lost his life, but at least he did so while fighting back, and his killer has been arrested. If he had not had a gun, that outcome would almost certainly not have happened.

From reading several articles, it is unclear exactly what the extortion was for.  It appears that the fake officer found out that the lotteries that were won may not have been state approved.  Threatening the gun store owner with arrest, jail, and loss of his livelihood in exchange for the lottery winnings might have succeeded if the gun store owner's brother did not see an article showing the extortionist being arrested on unrelated charges.  The police are still investigating.
The tickets appeared at first glance to be legal, but Indiana County investigators are working to trace their roots, District Attorney Patrick Dougherty said at a news conference. He did not go into detail about how the ticket sales worked.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

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