Mod: If you head over to Google News and type in the name "Vasken Gourdikian," you will see a long menu of breaking news articles from newspapers all over the country. The Washington Post actually published two separate stories. Here is one of them.
Pasadena Police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian was arrested Friday morning and is charges with illegally selling more than 100 firearms between March 2014 and February 2017. Gourdikian, 48, of Sierra Madre, was due to appear in federal court in Los Angeles later Friday. His attorney, Mark Geragos, was expected to comment on the case after the court proceeding.
Gourdikian, who worked as the police department’s spokesman until he was placed on leave last year, used his status as a police officer to buy guns that weren’t available to the general public and then re-sold the guns, prosecutors said.
As a police officer, he was able to purchase so-called “off-roster” handguns, which aren’t available to the public and aren’t listed in a catalog of certified handguns maintained by the state, authorities said. Gourdikian posted on online gun message boards that he had weapons that were brand new and in the box, court documents said.
The investigation against Gourdikian began during a routine analysis of sales and trace reports by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to Bill McMullan, the special agent in charge of the ATF field office in Los Angeles.
“As alleged in the indictment, Mr. Gourdikian used his position as a law enforcement officer to buy firearms from gun dealers that the general public could not. He then repeatedly sold those firearms at a profit,” McMullan said. ATF agents raided Gourdikian’s home last year and seized 62 firearms, including an unregistered short-barreled rifle, officials said.
He was also charged with possessing an unregistered gun and falsely claiming on federal firearms forms that he was buying a gun for himself, even though he had already agreed to sell the weapon to someone else, prosecutors said.
Mod: The cumulative effect of all this bad news is having an unhappy impact on the City of Pasadena's floundering local government agency. In an insightful article posted recently on the news site Pasadena Now, the Rotten Rose's increasingly ineffectual Mayor Terry Tornek attempted to explain everything away to a room filled with residents outraged over the Chris Ballew beating. It apparently did not go very well.
It was, he said, time for him to address the issues as the City’s Mayor.
“For several weeks now we have been hearing from local residents expressing their heartfelt concerns over the use of force incident that occurred in November in Altadena,” Mayor Tornek began. “We’ve even heard from the Altadena Town Council, expressing their concern over the PPD conduct in their community. We have been given lists of demands, exhortations about inappropriate police conduct and suggestions about suspensions, policies, training and investigation methodologies. Through it all, I have been listening carefully and asking questions of my own.
“As Mayor of Pasadena,” he continued, “I think that it is time for me to speak out on the issue."
(Bromides snipped) - The remarks were met with disdain from some audience members who earlier had crowded into City Council chambers carrying signs and shouting calls for the removal from active duty of Lerry Esparza and Zachary Lujan, the officers involved in the violent and controversial November 9, 2017 traffic stop of Chris Ballew.
Ballew, an Altadena resident, suffered a broken fibula and head injuries in the incident. A cellphone video of the arrest was widely circulated on social media, garnering more than a million views worldwide. Ballew and his family have filed a lawsuit against the City.
Police Chief Phillip Sanchez and City Manager Steve Mermell have said that the officers’ conduct is under investigation. The officers remain on active duty.
Mod: One question I have is how does this master of disaster, Pasadena Chief of Police Phillip Sanchez, continue to survive in that position? After all, he signed the paperwork that allowed Gourdikian to obtain some of his most lethal weaponry. This guy has been a serial calamity to the city paying his salary for years. What is his secret?