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Police: Rifle used in Chicago shooting stolen from local gun shop

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The rifle that was used by a convicted felon in a shooting at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Chicago is confirmed to have been stolen from a New Whiteland gun shop.

New Whiteland Police Chief Joe Rynerson is working with investigators from multiple state and federal agencies to determine how the 40-year-old Indianapolis man, Bernard Harvey Jr., ended up with the gun, he said Wednesday afternoon.

Harvey faces a federal charge of illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

Just before 2:30 p.m. Monday, Harvey entered the Taylor Street entrance of the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago while holding the 9 mm caliber rifle, a Ruger PC Carbine Model 19115, according to court documents.

Police saw Harvey in the clinic area and ordered him to drop the rifle, which he did. Officers then ordered Harvey to the ground and placed him under arrest, court documents said.

Witnesses said he fired multiple shots outside the hospital before entering, according to court documents. No one was injured during the shooting.

Police recovered seven shell casings, six of which were found outside the hospital, and two additional bullet holes in the hospital building, court documents said.

Harvey was previously convicted in the Circuit Court of Cook County on multiple felonies, including gun offenses, and was not lawfully allowed to possess a firearm, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois.

He was sentenced to four years in prison for the same crime in 2005, and he was sentenced to five months in jail, two years probation and community service for unlawful possession of a firearm in 1998, court records show.

The serial number on the gun Harvey used matches the serial number of one of the rifles stolen from the local gun shop, Rynerson said.

Five suspects broke into Element Armament, 400 Tracy Road, in the early morning hours of July 27. Surveillance videos show the five men, all believed to be teenagers, breaking into the gun shop by kicking in the door and stealing 33 guns in about two minutes.

Five people have been arrested in connection with the burglary, including Harvey, but it is not clear if any of them were involved in the burglary, Rynerson said.

Six of the guns have been recovered, including the one used Monday in Chicago, he said.

David Hill, the store’s owner, reported the thefts to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is required of federally licensed gun dealers. Because Element Armament is a federally licensed gun dealer, stealing from it would result in federal charges.

He would not confirm that the gun used in the shooting was stolen from his shop. Hill said he has not been kept in the loop, and does not know how many of the guns have been recovered.

No law enforcement officials have reached out to him about Monday’s shooting, he said.

All the guns that were stolen from his shop were entered into a national database of stolen weapons immediately following the burglary. The database allows police to run the serial numbers of guns through the system to determine if it has been stolen and from where.

That is how investigators determined the gun used in Monday’s shooting was tied to the New Whiteland burglary, Rynerson said.

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