Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.

November 21, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357


Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that Eric Rondell Downey, 22, of 496 North Patuxent Road, Odenton, pled guilty to illegally possessing a handgun and having a loaded shotgun accessible to an unsupervised minor child in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County. The Honorable Clayton Greene, Jr., on the charge of illegally possessing a handgun, sentenced Downey to 18 months at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center, but suspended that sentence. Downey was placed on three years of supervised probation. Additionally, on the crime of leaving a firearm accessible to a minor, Judge Green fined Downey $250.

The facts underlying these charges began on January 30, 2001, when Shannon Borum, 25, of 2325 Maytime Drive, Gambrills, and Downey entered Arundel Firearms and Pawn Incorporated, to look at firearms. Borum ultimately submitted an application to purchase a 12 gauge shotgun. She was "not disapproved" and was allowed to take the shotgun that day. Borum also applied to purchase a 22 caliber semi-automatic pistol, which is considered a regulated firearm. That application was submitted to the Maryland State Police Firearms Registration Section for the seven day criminal background investigation to be completed. One of the questions asked of Borum on the application was whether she was engaged in a straw purchase, and she answered that she was not. On February 9, 2001, Borum was permitted to return to the firearms dealer and take possession of the firearm.

On February 23, 2001, members of the Ceasefire Unit of the Maryland State Police conducted an investigation into the purchase of the firearms. They ultimately discovered that Downey was in possession of both the shotgun and handgun purchased by Borum. The handgun was retrieved from Downey’s vehicle, and the shotgun was recovered from under a futon bed in Downey’s residence. The shotgun was fully loaded, and easily accessible and visible to a minor child at the residence who was unsupervised at that time. Downey stated that he gave Borum money for the shotgun, and that he had been shooting with the handgun. Downey was discovered to have been found delinquent as a juvenile in 1994 for committing the crime of Distribution of Cocaine. A new law taking effect on October 1, 2000, makes it unlawful for a person to possess a handgun if the person is under the age of 30 at the time of the possession, and has been found delinquent for that type of crime.

Borum pled guilty on August 9, 2000, to Conspiracy to Participate in a Straw Purchase and False Application to Purchase a Regulated Firearm, and has been sentenced to 18 months incarceration, with all of that sentence suspended but for 60 days. That 60 days is to be served by Borum on house arrest. Borum was also placed on two years of supervised probation. These convictions prohibit Borum from ever being able to apply for, or possess, firearms again.

This case was investigated by the Cease Fire Unit of the Maryland State Police and will be prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General, Special Crimes Unit, Criminal Investigations Division, in connection with a partnership the two agencies have formed to further efforts to combat handgun violations. Funding for Operation Crime Gun comes from a grant received from the Governor’’s Office on Crime Control and Prevention.