San Jose Police Officers Association Cancels High-Powered Rifle Raffle in Wake of Gilroy Garlic Festival Shooting

The San Jose Police Officers Association has cancelled a raffle of a semiautomatic rifle after criticism that it was insensitive to victims of the mass shooting in Gilroy on Sunday.

The raffle of the Ruger PC Carbine 9mm semiautomatic rifle was advertised in a full-page ad in the Vanguard, the monthly magazine of the police officers' union.

Tickets cost $20 and the raffle was scheduled to take place at the monthly meeting of the police officers association on Tuesday. Proceeds were to benefit the San Jose Police Department chaplaincy.

The flier in the magazine states that, "civilians may enter this raffle." But police officers association Tom Saggau said that the flier was inaccurate and the raffle was only open to officers and retired officers.

"Not anyone can just roll in and buy a raffle ticket," Saggau said. Typically, he said that a service weapon would be raffled, not a rifle.

"This one just absolutely slipped through the cracks and that's why it's being cancelled," Saggau said.

The shooter in Gilroy allegedly used a semiautomatic AK-47-style rifle to kill three people and wound 13 at the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival on Sunday before he was shot and killed by police.

Ladoris Cordell, a retired judge and former independent police auditor in San Jose, noticed the ad in the police union's magazine and alerted reporters to the raffle.

After that, Sgt. Paul Kelly, president of the police officers union, announced via a statement Friday morning that the raffle had been cancelled.

"We understand the concern this raffle has caused to some and as such we will discontinue support for any raffle of any weapon in the future," Kelly said.

"Our prayers continue to be with the victims of the recent tragedy in Gilroy and we sincerely apologize for any pain this may have caused them," he said.

Cordell said she was concerned that they ever thought the raffle was appropriate, and questioned why the police officers association would consider putting such a weapon in the community.

"I'm glad that they have cancelled it," Cordell said. "I hope can they can do some reassessing why they thought that was even proper in the first place."

Copyright BAYCN - Bay City News
Contact Us