The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

State News

October 10, 2012

Evening News Brief | Coroner IDs 2 killed in helicopter crash

TOBYHANNA —

A coroner has released the identities of two men killed in a helicopter crash in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Monroe County Coroner Bob Allen identifies the victims as William Ellsworth, 52, of Califon N.J., and Tighe Sullivan, 51, of Darien, Conn. A third man, Stephen Barral, of Bernardsville, N.J., was seriously hurt and is being treated at a hospital.

Investigators believe the chopper went down sometime around 8 p.m. Tuesday in Coolbaugh Township, about 90 miles north of Philadelphia. Authorities say the crew apparently got lost in bad weather on the way back from a golf outing.

Ellsworth was piloting and Sullivan was the front-seat passenger.

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Man arrested on gun charges in officer's death

NORRISTOWN — An alleged "straw purchaser" was arrested Wednesday on charges he supplied guns to a man who fatally shot a suburban Philadelphia police officer last month.

Michael Henry, 30, of Philadelphia was arrested on nine felonies, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said. Authorities allege he supplied Andrew Charles Thomas, 44, of Lower Merion with nine weapons, including one used to kill Plymouth Township Officer Bradley Fox during a pursuit after an attempted traffic stop.

Ferman said Henry bought the weapon from a gun store in May and resold it illegally to Thomas, who fatally shot himself as police pursued him after the officer's killing.

The charges against Henry each relate to the illegal sale of firearms and giving sworn falsification to authorities. He is being held on $1 million cash bail, pending his Oct. 16 preliminary hearing. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.

Prosecutors said he bought seven pistols and two rifles at gun stores in West Norriton and East Pikeland townships between April and July, then illegally transferred them for $500 each to Thomas.

"We call this a 'straw purchase,' meaning someone who is legally allowed to purchase a firearm purchases one and then gives it illegally to someone who is not permitted to purchase that firearm," Ferman said.

Thomas was not allowed to possess firearms because he was on probation for a 2005 forgery arrest in Upper Merion, officials said.

"He (Henry) put nine guns into the hands of a felon, and one of those guns was used to kill a police officer," Ferman said. "And we will go to court and we will ask our courts to do justice."

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