WESTMINSTER — Thomas White bought a 12-gauge shotgun from one of the city's largest gun stores just hours before he used it to kill himself and his girlfriend, former Edison High School girls' basketball star Krisden Yoshiko Tanabe, police said Monday.
While sale of a handgun requires a 15-day waiting period under state law, White could buy and immediately take home the shotgun he used for Thursday's murder-suicide.
Westminster police said White bought the weapon Thursday afternoon at B&B Sales, on Golden West Street.
At B&B Sales, a store manager declined to comment Monday, beyond saying that he doubts that White had bought the weapon there.
But police say White, a troubled 21-year-old loner, drove to Tanabe's home on Tree Bark Circle after making the purchase and shot her in front of a friend's home as she tried to flee. He then used the shotgun to commit suicide.
The shooting came two days after White checked out after nearly a monthlong stay at Los Altos Hospital and Mental Health Center in Long Beach.
Westminster Mayor Charles V. Smith said the case points up the need for a law to require a waiting period for the sales of rifles and shotguns, similar to the system for handgun purchases.
"As far as I'm concerned, this thing would not have happened if we had a law requiring a cooling-off period for a few days," Smith said. A bill that would have extended the 15-day waiting period to rifles and shotguns was defeated by the state Senate last month. The measure's author blamed intense lobbying by the National Rifle Assn. for preventing its passage.
The handgun waiting period is intended to give state officials time to determine whether the prospective buyer has a felony conviction or has been found to be mentally ill by a court.
At present, rifle or shotgun buyers can take same-day delivery after they fill out a "firearms transaction record" issued by the U.S. Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The form poses questions to the buyer about immigration status, criminal record, mental history and drug use. A yes answer to any would be enough to stop a sale immediately, one longtime gun dealer said.