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Cleveland NAACP calls for criminal background checks for gun purchases after death of mother

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Posted at 2:59 PM, Sep 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-02 16:11:14-04

The Cleveland branch of the NAACP is calling for stricter gun laws after a mother of three was fatally wounded by a marine following a wreck. 

NAACP Cleveland President Michael Nelson said the shooting death of Deborah Pearl by Matthew Desha last weekend is a reason for Congress to pass laws requiring criminal background checks before purchasing guns, and for the National Rifle Association to stop its opposition to gun control.

"The death of Ms. Pearl was as much the responsibility of the NRA and its weak-kneed allies in Congress as it was the killer. It is highly probable that Ms. Pearl would still be alive if Congress had acted responsibly," Nelson said in an emailed statement to News Channel 5.

A representative from the NRA could not be immediately reached. 

Desha, 29, is charged with murder for killing Pearl, 53, just moments after his vehicle crashed into hers at the intersection of Solon and Richmond roads Aug. 27. 

At the time of the crash, Desha was facing a felony charge for carrying a concealed weapon related to a traffic stop in Boardman, Ohio May 30. 

Officers found a Taurus 9mm handgun under the driver's seat and drug paraphernalia, including two "short snort straws" and a tightly knotted clear plastic bag (commonly associated with narcotics packaging).

Desha was being held at the Cuyahoga County Jail on a $1 million bond.

"The NAACP will not jump to any conclusions, but will wait for the evidence that will clarify the circumstances which caused this defendant to leave the comfort of his community, drive across town, collide with a non-suspecting woman who was on her way to work, and instead of seeking to comfort her, pull out a military style rifle, shoot and kill her," the statement said.

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