Gun used in Montana murder stolen from federal agent

Gun used in Montana murder stolen from federal agent

The gun used in the murder trial this month of Michael Martinez in Billings, Montana has been linked to a federal agent who had the firearm stolen from his vehicle. (Photo: Casey Page/Billings Gazette)

Authorities confirm the personal handgun of a Bureau of Indian Affairs agent, stolen from his agency vehicle, was used in the murder of a Billings man.

The Glock 17, entered as evidence in the murder of David Vallie, was stolen in 2014 from BIA Special Agent John Dodd, the Billings Gazette reported. Jonathan Michael Martinez, 29, who was convicted by a jury of Vallie’s death, used the gun as a murder weapon.

BIA Office of Justice Services spokeswoman Nedra Darling said on Thursday it is, “not protocol,” to leave a personally-owned weapon in a service vehicle and that, “Corrective action has taken place,’ though Dodd is reportedly still on the force.

As noted by the agency, BIA OJS special agents are tasked with investigating tribal and Federal crimes throughout Indian Country.

The Glock was recovered by Billings Police after a hit-and-run crash the day after Vallie’s death and later linked by the Montana State Crime Lab to Martinez, a felon with a string of past convictions, during his trial.

The news of the recovered agent’s weapon comes on the heels of two high-profile murders in California, both committed with guns — as in the Vallie homicide — stolen from the vehicles of federal agents.

The fatal shooting of Kathryn Steinle on San Francisco’s Pier 14 last July by suspect Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a Mexican national with at least five deportations under his belt, allegedly occurred with a Sig Sauer handgun stolen from the vehicle of a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger that was left loaded and unsecured on the seat.

Steinle’s family are currently perusing claims for damages from the BLM, San Francisco Sheriff’s Department and U.S. Department of Homeland Security, claiming the ranger’s weapon was left loaded and in plain view in his car.

This was compounded with the news last November that the pistol used in the fatal shooting of an artist in the San Francisco area was stolen from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent. That gun, a 9mm Glock 26, was stolen from the car of a federal agent in the area just two weeks before the shooting.

The Glock was one of no less than 144 lost or stolen from ICE agents since 2005.