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Wisconsin gun dealer links three deadly shootings

Eric Thompson of TGSCOM poses for a photo in Green Bay, Wis. Gunmen in three mass killings made purchases from Thompson.

Associated Press (2007)

Eric Thompson of TGSCOM poses for a photo in Green Bay, Wis. Gunmen in three mass killings made purchases from Thompson.

MADISON, Wis. — An online weapons dealer who sold a gun or accessories to three mass killers, including a man who opened fire at a Pittsburgh-area health club this week, said Friday that any of the shooters could have just as easily found what they wanted at a Wal-Mart or another store.

Eric Thompson, whose company TGSCOM Inc. last year sold an empty Glock 9mm magazine and magazine loading apparatus to George Sodini, the man who attacked a Collier Township, Pa., health club on Tuesday, said the sale was legal and his company did nothing wrong.

"The firearms industry and firearms dealers are lambasted by the media and by politicians all the time, and very often nobody stands up and says, 'Hey, we didn't do anything wrong,' " Thompson said. "I'm … being penalized by doing a good job and employing a lot of people and selling sporting goods."

Thompson's company, which is based in Green Bay and employs about 40 people, also sold a gun or accessories to the shooters in the Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University attacks.

Seung-Hui Cho used a .22-caliber handgun bought from TGSCOM in his attack at Virginia Tech in April 2007, in which 32 people were killed.

Stephen Kazmierczak, who killed five people in an NIU classroom before killing himself in February 2008, bought two empty 9mm Glock magazines and a Glock holster through a TGSCOM site.

Thompson visited the Virginia Tech campus after the attack to support a local chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus.

Gunman was fan of dating guru

The man who killed three women in a rampage at a health club knew the book How to Date Young Women: For Men Over 35 chapter and verse and was a devoted follower of its author. In a video that surfaced this week, George Sodini sits in rapt attention at one of R. Don Steele's dating seminars. Sodini is later shown shaking hands with one of the blond assistants employed by Steele, 69, as part of an exercise on how to meet women. Embittered by his inability to attract the opposite sex, Sodini, 48, opened fire on a women's aerobics class in the Pittsburgh suburbs Tuesday. Four women remained hospitalized Friday. Steele, whose real name is John J. White, did not respond to e-mail requests for comment, nor did he answer phone calls.

Associated Press

Wisconsin gun dealer links three deadly shootings 08/08/09 [Last modified: Saturday, August 8, 2009 12:14am]
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