A 23-year-old Montgomery County man has been charged with trafficking more than a dozen guns, some of which have been linked to fatal shootings and other crimes in Philadelphia.
One of the firearms, a Glock pistol, was found at the scene of a shooting that left three teenagers dead last month in the Crescentville section of Northeast Philadelphia, authorities said.
Investigators said Tamir Hartsock, who lives in Glenside, purchased 15 guns between September 2020 and December 2022. He is accused of acting as a straw purchaser, distributing the firearms to those not legally able to own guns, such as people convicted of felonies.
Four of the weapons have been recovered, and ballistic evidence indicates that those firearms were used in seven separate shooting incidents that killed five people and wounded an additional 10 people, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.
Hartsock is facing a litany of charges, and he is being held on $500,000 bail. His attorney could not be identified through court records Wednesday.
The investigation into Hartsock began last month when, on April 28, three people – 14-year-old Salah Fleming, 17-year-old Malik Ballard and 18-year-old Khalif Frezghi – were gunned down on the 5900 block of Palmetto Street, authorities said. A fourth teen was also shot and survived.
After finding the Glock, investigators removed a bullet from the body of one of the victims, entering the data into the ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network to trace the gun to Hartsock, the Montgomery County DA’s Office said.
Another gun allegedly purchased by Hartsock was confiscated when police pulled over a fleeing vehicle after 50 shots were fired in September 2022 on Carlisle Street, authorities said.
Though no one was injured in that incident, the firearm was tied to four other shootings through the ATF system, prosecutors said, adding that Philadelphia police detectives are working to confirm the findings.
In one of the incidents, which occurred in August 2021, a man was killed and four other people were wounded when gunfire erupted on the 5100 block of Germantown Avenue in Germantown. The firearm was allegedly involved in a quadruple shooting earlier the same month in North Philadelphia.
Ballistics also connected the weapon to the May 2022 fatal shooting of a man in North Philadelphia, according to authorities.
A DUI checkpoint in the city and a Delaware County traffic stop uncovered two additional guns allegedly furnished by Hartsock.
Most of the guns were bought online, though Hartsock did have to pick them up in-person at firearms dealers to complete the legally-required paperwork and background check, authorities said.
“This defendant and his trafficking of firearms to violent criminals, including murderers, shows just how dangerous straw purchases are and what a danger they are to public safety,” Montgomery County DA Kevin R. Steele said Wednesday in a statement. “Gun traffickers like Hartsock are enabling violence and murder.”
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