HUMMELS WHARF – A “ghost gun” was used to kill a woman and her date in front of a Buffalo Wild Wings in Snyder County on Friday night.
The Polymer80 9mm pistol was named so because it cannot be traced due to the lack of a serial number.
The parts are sold as a kit and do not meet the definition of a firearm, explained Agent Robert Cucinotta of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms & Explosives.
It doesn’t become a firearm until the holes are drilled and the parts put together so a projectile can be fired, he said.
The use of “ghost weapons” has become widespread in Philadelphia, he said, explaining that individuals can obtain the kits directly without having to undergo a background check.
It is believed to be the first time this year that such a weapon has been used to commit a major crime in north-central Pennsylvania, Private Mark S. Reasoner said.
A 9mm Polymer 80 pistol was found in the parking lot of the restaurant where Heather Sue Campbell, 46, of Trevorton, and Matthew T. Bowersox, 52, of Mifflinburg, were fatally shot. The two died from several gunshot wounds, according to autopsies.
Witnesses told investigators they saw Campbell’s ex-husband Christopher T. Fernanders, 55, from the Paxinos area, use such a weapon to shoot the two.
He has been charged with first degree murder and other charges, but has not been brought to justice because he is hospitalized after being injured by Troy Adam Sprenkle, 40, of Sunbury, who is found in the restaurant.
Fernanders was not allowed to own guns because Campbell had obtained an abuse protection order against him on June 22. In her PFA request, she said her ex-husband also had a homemade AR-15.
Fernanders is accused of getting out of his van just before 8 p.m. Friday and starting to shoot Campbell and Bowersox as they kissed in the parking lot under an umbrella.
She was pronounced dead at the scene and he was dead upon arrival at Geisinger Medical Center near Danville.
Charges against Fernanders from a June 21 incident at Campbell’s house allege that he tthreatened to kill her if he saw her dating someone else. Their two children told state police that they heard the threats.
Fernanders is also accused of harassing his ex-wife. A GPS tracking device was found attached to his car’s undercarriage and an empty box for such a unit was discovered in his home, police said.
Snyder County District Attorney Michael Piecuch had said Fernanders was seriously injured, but neither Geisinger nor state police would provide an update on his condition.
He will not be brought to justice until he obtains his medical clearance, Piecuch said.
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