U.S. Attorney files illegal gun charges in police officers' deaths

Terre Haute Police Ofc. Rob Pitts (left) and Boone County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Pickett
Illegal gun purchases
Federal charges in gun cases

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — United States Attorney Josh Minkler announced charges Monday against three people accused of purchasing the guns used to kill Boone County Deputy Jacob Pickett and Terre Haute Police Officer Robert Pitts.

"When guns are purchased or possessed illegally, it is never for a good reason and the results are often tragic," said Minkler. "We all continue to mourn the loss of Deputy Pickett and Officer Pitts and law enforcement must hold all those who contributed to their senseless death accountable. Those who ‘lie and buy’ guns will be prosecuted in federal court."

The three indictments announced Monday charge Tiffany Nicole Dean of West Terre Haute with lying while purchasing a gun in Vigo County, Dawn Rochon of Indianapolis for lying during the purchase of a gun, and Levi Brenton of Terre Haute with lying while buying, and illegally trading guns.

Rochon, 29, faces eight federal charges for using a false address to purchase three guns. Minkler said one of those guns was a 9 mm handgun purchased at Indy Gun Bunker alleged to have been used in killing Boone County Deputy Jacob Pickett.

Dean is alleged to have purchased a 9-millimeter handgun from a gun store in Terre Haute. According to the indictment, she completed the required paperwork for the purchase, indicating the gun was for her, when in fact the gun was being purchased for Brenton because he was "too young to buy it." According to the criminal complaint, Dean and Brenton went to the gun store together to purchase the firearm and Brenton left the store with the gun in his possession.

Brenton is then accused of selling the gun for $350. That same gun was allegedly used in the killing of Officer Pitts.

The charges are a result of a violence reduction program initiated by the Department of Justice called Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). Minkler introduced Project Safe Neighborhoods in January specifically to reduce the number of homicides and non-fatal shootings in both Indianapolis and Evansville. To date 117 PSN cases have been charged.