Millions of Americans were mortified and surprised Friday to learn that a man in Colorado had used ammunition and military equipment he purchased from the Internet to carry out a deadly and malicious attack at a movie theater.
Jack Riley of the DEA was not among the surprised.
He's recovered AR-15 assault weapons with thousands of rounds of ammo. Trip wires. Tear gas. Explosives and more during his time with the agency. Everything in accused movie theater shooter James Holmes' alleged arsenal is familiar to Riley -- and to the Chicago gangs he investigates.
“It is the way these organizations, whether they be the Mexicans or the street gangs regulate themselves," Riley said. "Through violence. And the tool of that (violence) clearly is weapons and explosives.”
Many of the tools of violence are available online. NBC Chicago found a Web site (one that we will not be linking to) that seems to be the Craigslist.org of the gun world. Everything in the Colorado killer's kit is available: a Glock, a Remmington Rifle, an AR-15, and even a 100 round ammo drum. Each item is available for sale in Chicago.
Holmes allegedly received more than 50 packages in four months containing just these items.
Our investigative team, Unit 5, ordered a gas mask from the Web site on Friday, just after the shootings, and it arrived Monday complete with an instruction manual. Cost: $19.99. Tear gas grenades were available on the same site for as little as $10.50.
The only reason someone would need tear gas?
"To cause mass hysteria and to hurt private individuals, in my opinion," Riley said.
Tear gas and gas masks aren't as scary to Riley as the 100-ammo drum, because it gives Chicago gangs the ability to outgun police.
"Our agents, who are on the street day-in and day-out, 24 hours a day, normally carry a weapon with a 10-round magazine," Riley said.