Suspected mass shooter has history of stealing guns

By Jace Larson - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - Sheriff's investigators are trying to piece together the series of events that led to murder suspect Ronald Lee Haskell Jr. getting the gun he allegedly used to murder six members of the Stay family in Spring last week.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) traced the Springfield XD 9mm gun to a 2007 purchase in Utah. Someone other than Haskell purchased the gun.

A gun sale is recorded and the existence of the record is noted with the federal government. The ATF can only find out who the gun was initially sold to by calling the licensed gun dealer and inquiring. If a gun is sold to another person after its initial sale, there may be no record. Private gun sales are not required to be recorded.

Haskell has a history of stealing guns, according to a protective order filed by his mother after she claimed he tied her up with duct tape and held her hostage for hours on July 2 at her San Marcos, California home about 45 minutes north of San Diego.

Karla Haskell says Ronald Haskell stole her husband's guns in November of 2013 following a domestic violence incident. Karla Haskell says Ronald Haskell grabbed his sister's throat and threw her to the ground in the incident. He did the same to her, she claims.

The guns were returned after assistance from the "SD Sheriff's Department", Karla Haskell wrote in the court paperwork.

Investigators have pieced together the trip Haskell took from California to Texas.

Sources tell Local 2 Investigates they have evidence he drove from California, to Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and then Texas in the time between July 2 and the murders July 9.

A spokesman for the Harris County Sheriff's Office, which is conducting the homicide investigation, declined to say what investigators know about the gun.

Haskell is accused of killing Stephen and Katie Stay, and four of their children execution-style.

The Stay's 15-year-old daughter, Cassidy, was the lone survivor.

Cassidy played dead and managed to call police and alert them to where Haskell was heading next. He was arrested after a SWAT standoff and charged with capital murder.

He is being held in the Harris County Jail in downtown Houston.

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