GRANTS PASS — A total of 26 people have been arrested on weapons, drug and other charges after an investigation that began with the accidental killing of a 5-year-old girl by a Grants Pass man using a military-style rifle as a crutch to get up from a couch, authorities said.
The investigation uncovered a ring in Southern Oregon that specialized in “straw” purchases of weapons, buys designed to conceal the ultimate recipient, the Grants Pass Daily Courier reported.
The man convicted in the girl’s killing, Jon A. Meyer Jr., 30, was involved in such a purchase, touching off the investigation revealed Wednesday in a statement from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
Five more people are being sought. The investigation involved federal state and local agencies.
The child, Alysa Bobbitt, of Shady Cove, was visiting at a Grants Pass apartment with her mother in June 2013.
Meyer was below in the living room of his apartment when the gun went off, sending a burst of bullets through the ceiling, hitting the girl and seriously wounding a woman.
In a plea bargain with prosecutors, Meyer pleaded guilty in 2013 to manslaughter and other charges and was sentenced to six years in prison.
After Meyer was sentenced, the Daily Courier reported that federal authorities were investigating the background of the rifle, which fired in an automatic mode either because of a malfunction or because it had been illegally tampered with.
The statement from investigators Wednesday said some of the guns purchased by the ring ended up at crime scenes in California. It said two murder plots were uncovered.
During the investigation, authorities seized rifles, handguns and a variety of drugs.
Other charges contained in the state and federal indictments include racketeering, attempted murder, assault and promoting prostitution.