How Did Committed Man Get a Gun?

The man who barricaded himself inside a sporting goods store and then shot himself to death,  was not allowed to possess a gun.

Mark McCarthy, 58, had a history of mental problems and was even previously involved in a police standoff before he walked into the Dick’s Sporting Goods store on Commerce Boulevard in Fairless Hills, Pa. on March 16. It was about 7 p.m.

McCarthy, who was from Levittown, then pulled out a revolver, pointed it at the clerk and demanded that the clerk unlock the shotgun.

McCarthy took that gun and the ammunition and barricaded himself in a store restroom.

Witness Mike Elwell, who was inside the store at the time, described the wild scene that ensued. "SWAT team rolled in… it's crazy. We watched them put together their full suits. They've got guns and everything. They're locked and loaded."

The entire store and neighboring businesses were evacuated for four hours. When police finally got to the bathroom around midnight, they found McCarthy dead of a single self-inflicted gunshot to the chest.

It wasn’t McCarthy’s first run-in with police.

McCarthy was involved in a standoff with Middletown officers in 2002. He was involuntarily committed for mental health treatment in 2010, according to investigators.

Because McCarthy was previously involuntarily committed to a mental institution he wasn’t allowed by Pennsylvania law to own or possess a firearm.

So where did he get the gun he used to threaten the employee?

Falls Township Police Department Lt. Henry Ward tells that the gun McCarthy brought with him to Dick’s was from the 1800s and wasn’t functional.

McCarthy’s family told investigators that all of Ward’s functional weapons were previously turned over to the Bucks County Sheriff’s Office. The antique revolver he used in the store was never taken away since it didn’t work, according to Ward.

Investigators believe McCarthy likely went to the store with the intention of using the antique gun to get a working gun that he could use to kill himself, said Ward.

Since this a suicide and since investigators believe they know the series of events leading up to the barricade, investigators tell that this is considered a closed case.

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