Pawn shop talks about negligence amidst Hesston shooting settlement


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s been three years since the deadly Hesston Excel Industries shooting. Now, there is a $2 million dollar settlement for some of the victims and their families.

As we first told you Wednesday night, it stems from a settlement from the pawn shop that sold the guns. 

The lawsuit against the pawn shop in Newton alleged that the business should have known that the woman who purchased the two guns was buying them for a convicted felon, since she paid for them with his credit card. One pawn shop director says it’s a reminder that they have a responsibility to ensure they’re selling firearms by the books.

“You can’t drop the ball, if you’re going to be a firearms dealer, you have to make sure you play by the rules,” said Billy Haywood, Director of Operations.

Billy Haywood with A-OK Pawn says they aren’t dealing with firearms yet, but they’re training for it.

“We’re going to remove all of this section right here, add new shelve cases, locking cases,” said Billy Haywood, A-OK Pawn.

Haywood says soon, they will be processing loans on firearms and selling some as they come. He says staff are being trained on proper paperwork, and on how to spot a straw purchase, when someone purchases a firearm intended for someone who can’t legally buy it themselves. He says IDs, credit cards, and addresses, all have to match the buyer.

“Somebody comes in and does all the paperwork, and gets the money from the person next to them to pay for it, no, just say no, that’s a straw purchase,” said Haywood.

Haywood says, the illegal purchases lead to tragedy almost every time, like the workplace shooting in Hesston that killed three people and injured 14 others.

In that case, a woman gave the shooter a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun. It’s an avoidable tragedy, says one of the attorneys involved in the settlement, who says it sends a message to those who sell guns.

“I think they’re glad to have it behind them, and I think it’s nice for them to know that there was a recognition that the pawn shop didn’t act in a way they should have, and maybe this could have been prevented,” said Richard James, DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers.

As for the pawn shop that sold the weapons involved in the Excel shooting, it has since closed down. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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