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Saturday, 21 February 2009

Blood who couldn’t hit the target had killed a bunch of innocent bystanders.

15:45 |

ex-convict from Trenton lied about his criminal record to join the firing range in Bristol Township, Pa., that he brought Blood gangsters from the city to for practice with a dozen different kinds of handguns.Former champion bodybuilder Marvin Ward, 37, was charged in a federal indictment made public yesterday that outlined how he was able to connect gangsters with the wide variety of guns for practice at a range off Route 13 called Ready, Aim, Fire.It started with Ward not admitting on a RAF membership form that he had felony convictions making it illegal for him to own or even handle a gun. As a member, the indictment alleged, Ward was free to bring gangster friends, including other felons, to the indoor firing range to rent guns for target practice at $10 an hour.An RAF employee said there is no requirement for a background check on gun renters. RAF is required to run background checks on gun purchasers, he said, but not those who rent weapons for use at the range. No rented guns can leave the building, which is on Ellwood Avenue behind a motel on 13 at the entrance to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.Yesterday’s federal bust occurred the day after township police and the Bucks County district attorney made an arrest in the 2006 murder of scholar-athlete Ahman Fralin in part due to investigation of gun purchases by qualified buyers who turn the weapons over to criminals.In addition, Ready, Aim, Fire has been the subject of past news reports, the first in The Trentonian a decade ago, about how the 11-lane indoor firing range is popular with cops as well as gangsters looking to sharpen their shooting skills.U. S. Attorney Laurie Magid announced the indictment of Ward, saying a federal grand jury in Philadelphia handed it up Wednesday. He’s charged with possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon.“Ward has two 1992 convictions in New Jersey for narcotics felonies, and in 1996 he has a conviction on drug charges in Trenton and later in 1996 he was convicted of resisting arrest in Harrison Township,” said Patty Hartman, Magid’s press aide. If convicted, she added, Ward faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.Five-foot-one and 125 pounds in his days as a bodybuilder a decade ago, Ward was charged with inciting a riot in September of 1994 for allegedly screaming out for friends to surround the cops trying to arrest him on drug charges.An investigation by federal ATF agents and New Jersey troopers showed that Ward continually broke the law at RAF between July 25, 2005, and March 3, 2006.
Ward and his gangster buddies reportedly took videos of themselves shooting at the range, including one in which they joked that a Blood who couldn’t hit the target had killed a bunch of innocent bystanders.The Ready Aim Fire Training Center, which opened in 1998, also once had a firearms training simulator that showed real-life situations to help shooters improve their reaction time and aim — the skills needed by today’s gangbangers.The life-size video shooting game, which uses lasers, is no longer at RAF, but was used by Ward and his friends and now has become a common training tool for law-enforcement groups, including the FBI and the CIA.The RAF worker, who would not give his name, said CEO Joe McGinty was not available for comment yesterday. He did report, however, that certified gun instructors work for RAF and that all shooting safety procedures are followed at the range.
“You need only a driver’s license, a valid identification and must sign waivers to use the guns in the facility,” said the anonymous employee. “We can only do a background check on someone when they buy a gun. That’s the state law.”

Among the RAF guns used by Ward and his Blood colleagues were, according to the indictment, a Smith & Wesson 45-caliber pistol, and .50-caliber revolver; Glock and Heckler & Koch brand 9-mm automatics; a Glock 40-caliber pistol; and Sig Sauer pistols with calibers of .40 and .45.

Magid said the Ward case was of Project Safe Neighborhood, a federal initiative aimed at identifying and prosecuting firearms offenders in federal court so they can be hit with more severe punishment when convicted.

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