The gun authorities say was used to kill NYPD officer Brian Moore in Queens over the weekend was one of 23 weapons stolen from a gun shop in Georgia several years ago, according to police officials.
NBC New York's I-Team obtained security video pictures from inside Little's Bait and Tackle shop in Perry, Georgia, where two men broke through the front door Oct. 3, 2011 and stole 23 guns and jewelry, Captain Heath Dykes of the Perry Police Department told the I-Team.
One of those guns, a Taurus Model 85 revolver, was the weapon 35-year-old Demetrius Blackwell allegedly used to shoot Moore in the face. Moore and his partner were in plainclothes and in an unmarked police car when they approached Blackwell, 35, after they saw him adjusting his waistband, a move that made them suspicious he had a handgun, authorities said.
The revolver was recovered at the scene. NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce tells the I-Team eight other weapons stolen in the Georgia heist in addition to the one Blackwell allegedly used on the officer have been recovered in New York City.
The NYPD says three of those guns were found in the Bronx and five other guns were retrieved during an ongoing investigation.
According to Erika Soto Lamb, a spokesperson for Every Town for Gun Safety, 90 percent of guns recovered in connection with crimes in New York City came from out of state.
Lamb's organization pushes for stricter gun laws nationwide. The group argues lax gun laws in other states provide an easy way for criminals to bring guns to New York City, creating a so-called "iron pipeline" of weaponry to the Big Apple.
There were 4,022 such guns recovered in New York City in 2013, according to the most recent statistics available from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
According to the Department of Justice, Georgia ranked third last year behind North Carolina and Texas when it came to states with the most stolen guns.
Charles Mulham, a spokesman for the ATF based in New York City, says southern states with gun laws that are more lax compared with others in the nation have a higher per capita rate of people who are selling guns.
"It's a natural byproduct of that," Mulham said.
The ATF investigated the 2011 burglary at the Georgia gun shop and a subsequent burglary in December of that year in which 12 guns were stolen. In the December heist, the burglar was clad head to toe and was seen in surveillance video grabbing what appeared to be an assault rifle.
"If you have a dealership that reports a large number of burglaries, that's usually a real quick flag for us to go in there and take a look," Mulham said.
Yet Little's Bait and Tackle remains open for business. A person who answered the phone at the store said the owner, Clarence Little, would not be back at work until Saturday.
Activists say that while authorities in New York are doing everything they can to keep guns off the street, nothing will change if states do not make it more difficult for people to buy them.
Lamb said states should require background checks on all gun sales.