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‘Ghost gun’ charge for RI man accused of aiming weapon at off-duty deputy sheriff

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A Cranston man has been charged with the state’s new “ghost gun” statute after he allegedly aimed the weapon at an off-duty deputy sheriff on I-95 in Providence on Thursday.

Jason Dupree, 48, of Cranston, was charged with one felony count of possession of a ghost gun and felony assault.

R.I. State Police Capt. David Bassignani said they received a call of a road rage incident on I-95 near the Thurbers Ave. exit around 8:30 a.m. When troopers arrived, the off-duty deputy sheriff said a driver of a white Subaru aimed what appeared to be a gun at him while he was on the way to work, and provided troopers with a license plate number.

“Troopers flooded the area and a short time later they ended up stopping the vehicle on 95 north at the Branch Ave. exit,” Bassignani said. “They got the suspect out and searched the vehicle.”

In the car they discovered a holster on the floor containing a lower receiver of a handgun – or the handle section of a gun – and a “slide,” the upper part, in the glove box. They also discovered a clip with 9mm bullets.

The gun parts lacked a serial number, and police determined it to be made up of pieces from a popular mail-order site that supplies parts of guns that can later be assembled. Because the parts lacked a serial number, it violated the ghost gun statute, which was passed by lawmakers and signed by then-Gov. Gina Raimondo in June 2020.

“They were a new thing that we’ve been running into lately,” Bassignani said. “We’ve made several arrests where it’s a polymer gun made by a kit, and you can go online and purchase these kits and you put the gun together yourself.” 

Though troopers found the weapon in pieces, Bassignani said “it was likely the gun was together” when he allegedly aimed it at the deputy sheriff.

Court records show the ghost gun statute has been charged 21 times since it became law.

Bassignani said serial numbers allow a gun to be traced to determine its sale history and if it were used in a crime. Ghost guns, like the one found in this case, only come with markings from the manufacturer, but are not identifiable to the individual weapon.

An attorney for Dupree was not listed on court paperwork. He is due back in court in November.

Tim White (twhite@wpri.com) is the Target 12 managing editor and chief investigative reporter at 12 News, and the host of Newsmakers. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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