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Ammo Bought By Killing Suspect Came From N.C. Mail-Order Business

January 2, 1993

MATTHEWS, N.C. (AP) _ The operators of a small mail-order business thought it was just a routine sale of some ammunition and two 30-round ammo magazines for a Chinese-made SKS semi-automatic rifle.

Then two people were killed during a Dec. 14 shooting spree at Simon’s Rock College of Bard in Great Barrington, Mass.

The young man arrested in connection with the shootings was their customer, Wayne Lo, an 18-year-old student at Simon’s Rock.

Ben and Sherry Keziah, whose Classic Arms business near Charlotte specializes in accessories for SKS rifles, said they had figured Lo was buying bullets for a target shooting competition.

″I was shocked,″ Mrs. Keziah said. ″Anyone who would do this would just have to be absolutely out of their mind. I just thought it was sick and a disgrace that someone would do that to innocent people.″

North Carolina law does not require ammunition dealers to conduct background checks on their customers, said John Aldridge, an associate state attorney general. A buyer must be 18.

John Killorin, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said Lo could have bought bullets for the rifle in almost any state.

″He could have walked into any store in the area and bought that same ammunition,″ Killorin said. ″It’s something of a mystery why he would choose to mail order.″

ATF classifies the SKS, originally a military weapon, as a sporting rifle. The 30-round clips are legal and many people use them for shooting competitions, Keziah said.

Authorities won’t say if they think the ammunition ordered from the Keziahs’ company was used in the shootings.

But the package was delivered the same day the shootings occurred and just hours before Lo bought an SKS rifle at a sporting goods store near Great Barrington, said Bernard Rodgers, dean of Simon’s Rock. He said Lo, a gifted violinist, saw an advertisement for Classic Arms in a magazine.

Mrs. Keziah, who took Lo’s telephone order, said she felt terrible when she learned she had mailed bullets that may have been used in a killing. But she doesn’t blame herself for what happened.

″He’s the guy who put the rounds in the rifle and shot them,″ she said. ″I’m not responsible for anybody else’s actions, just my own.″

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