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'Marine General' Held After Loaded Gun Found

Uniformed man seeks a weapons permit at the San Bernardino sheriff's headquarters.

August 01, 2003|Hector Becerra | Times Staff Writer

A Hesperia man who walked into a sheriff's station in full Marine dress uniform to apply for a concealed-weapon permit was arrested Thursday on suspicion of impersonating a veteran of a foreign war and having a loaded handgun in his Mercedes-Benz, authorities said.

Lawrence Murphy Jr., 62, was dressed as a decorated two-star U.S. Marine Corps general when he walked into the San Bernardino County Sheriff's headquarters, said Sgt. Jack Phillips.

"He was wearing ribbons that identified him as having served in Vietnam," Phillips said.

"A person that age, I don't know why they would come in wearing a full Marine uniform under those circumstances.

"It raised a bunch of red flags."

Murphy never served in the military, Phillips said. With Murphy's permission, investigators checked his 1992 Mercedes-Benz bearing a personalized license plate "GEN 2" and found the loaded gun, which led to the weapon charge.

Investigators serving a search warrant at Murphy's home found an assortment of U.S. Marine Corps uniforms and military ribbons, Phillips said.

A Marine flag and a prisoner of war flag hung outside his home, Phillips said.

"Maybe he thought the uniform would help him get the license," Phillips said.

Military duty, however, has no bearing on getting a license for a concealed weapon, the sergeant said.

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