The Beaver Countian has obtained a copy of a letter sent by Aliquippa Mayor Dwan Walker to the United States Attorney’s Office about several handguns that allegedly went missing from the city’s police department — One of those weapons was purportedly used in a shooting that took place in Aliquippa earlier this year.
The letter was sent by Mayor Walker to US Attorney David Hickton at the beginning of February.
“Aliquippa Police Chief [Andre] Davis notified the City Administrator Mr. Samuel Gill and I about a domestic crime which was committed by the use of a firearm registered to the City of Aliquippa,” wrote Mayor Walker. “When a forensic test was performed on the weapon involved in the crime it was confirmed that the firearm was registered to the City of Aliquippa … Be advised that this is the second time an incident has been perpetrated in the City of Aliquippa with a weapon registered to the City of Aliquippa. The weapon used in the crime seriously injured the victim, which resulted in the victim being transported by air to a Pittsburgh hospital.”
“The second incident involved a traffic stop in which a firearm owned by the accused was confiscated,” continued Mayor Walker. “Upon completion of the investigation involving the traffic stop the suspect was not charged. After the passing of a considerable amount of time, the suspect who was not charged asked for his firearm to be returned to him. Unfortunately, however the City of Aliquippa Police Department was unable to provide the weapon, because the weapon’s location was unknown, according to Chief Andre Davis. Chief Davis stated, that he did reimburse the owner approximately $300 (money from a police department discretionary fund) for the cost of the firearm.”
“To date, the firearm in question is still unaccounted for. Ballistics test indicate that the weapon confiscated in the traffic stop was registered to former Aliquippa Police Officer Joseph Catroppa, who has been deceased for over two decades,” wrote Walker. “After an extensive examination of official records the city could not locate any records indicating that Officer Joseph Catroppa filed the proper documentation, indicating that he purchased the firearm legally from the city.”
“Since this is the second incident involving the use of a city owned firearm in a criminal offense in the City of Aliquippa, I decided to turn this matter over to outside law enforcement agencies in order that an objective investigation could be conducted,” continued Mayor Walker. “Prior to this writing, I contacted Agent Ferrucio in the Department of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, explaining the uneasiness the city has concerning firearms involved in criminal offenses formally owned by the City Police Department.”
“The City of Aliquippa is embarrassed to learn about this unfortunate incident. Since I have been elected to the office of the Mayor I have taken a sworn oath and promised the citizens of Aliquippa that our City government would be transparent and would not tolerate any corruption from City officials,” concluded Walker in the letter. “As you can determine from this writing, my level of frustration is high, having exhausted all avenues of time and efforts in resolving this matter with local law enforcement agencies. It is because of my concerns for the safety of my community that I am requesting any assistance that your office may provide in this matter at this time.”