Wednesday, November 02, 2005

ISRA Calls for Resignation of Illinois State Police Director Larry Trent

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Nov. 2 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following was released today by the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA):

The ISRA is calling upon Illinois State Police Director Larry Trent to step aside in the wake of a burgeoning scandal related to the suicide of a State Police employee and the murder of the employee's girlfriend. The ISRA is also calling upon Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to initiate an investigation into the State Police's failure to confiscate firearms from that employee once it became clear that he posed a threat to his girlfriend and others.

On January 1, 2003, Illinois State Police employee Donald Dunkirk shot and killed his girlfriend, Faith Blanks, before turning the gun on himself. Just a week earlier, Dunkirk's supervisor had notified state police officials that Dunkirk had been threatening people and that he owned firearms.

Under Illinois law, the state police had the authority, and obligation to revoke Dunkirk's Illinois Firearm Owners Identification Card, and collect his firearms from him once it was clear that he was a danger to the public. Unfortunately, the state police failed to act before Dunkirk went on his rampage.

"Two people are dead," said ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson. "In the past week, we've heard Illinois State Police Director Larry Trent blame everyone under the sun for the tragedy - except his own department. One state police spokesman even had the unmitigated gall to blame the victim because she failed to secure a restraining order against her killer."

"Well, blaming the victim in this case isn't going to fly," continued Pearson. "For goodness sakes, the killer was a state police employee who was known to own firearms, and who had threatened people while on state police property. They had this killer in the palm of their hand - yet they did nothing."

"The blame for this tragedy lies squarely with the state police," said Pearson. "Their demonstrated inability to enforce the law in this instance directly resulted in the death of an innocent victim of domestic violence. The buck stops on Larry Trent's desk, and he should be man enough to own up to the blunders committed by those who serve him. Larry Trent should step aside immediately so that a complete investigation of this incident may be conducted unimpeded."

"It's not clear at this point whether the state police's bungling of this case is an isolated event," continued Pearson. "Therefore, we're asking Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to investigate the department's handling of this matter and to determine whether the state police are capable of protecting innocent citizens from people like Donald Dunkirk."

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The ISRA is the state's leading advocate of safe, lawful and responsible firearms ownership. For more than a century, the ISRA has represented the interests of law abiding Illinois firearm owners.

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