Mother Sentenced For Providing Gun To Son Who Shot Phoenix Police Officer Tyler Moldovan

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Essa Williams

The mother of the man who shot Phoenix Police Officer Tyler Moldovan, Erika LaRae Williams, has been sentenced to 10 months in prison. Williams pleaded guilty on May 22, 2023, to Making a Material False Statement During the Purchase of a Firearm.

Williams’ prison sentence is to be followed by three years of supervised release.

On September 3, 2020, Ms. Williams purchased a Taurus G3 pistol from AZESB, LLC. (dba Mo Money Pawn), a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL), in Phoenix. Ms. Williams purchased this firearm for her son, Essa Williams, only five months after his release from the Arizona Department of Corrections for several violent felony convictions. During the purchase of the firearm, Williams completed the Firearms Transactions Record, known as ATF Form 4473. Ms. Williams swore that she was the actual purchaser of the firearm while knowing she was purchasing the firearm on behalf of Essa Williams.

Pursuant to a federal search warrant, the ATF seized and searched Ms. Williams’ cellular telephone, which revealed a lengthy text exchange with Essa Williams during the purchase of the Taurus G3 pistol. Essa Williams asked his mother via text message which firearm was purchased, what other options were available, and whether his mother’s background check went through. Ms. Williams provided Essa Williams details about who assisted in the purchase, and confirmed the purchase was complete.

Essa Williams is pending trial in Maricopa County Superior Court for shooting Phoenix Police Officer Tyler Moldovan on December 14, 2021.

The Taurus G3 pistol was not the firearm that was used to shoot Officer Moldovan. On March 10, 2022, pursuant to a search warrant, ATF seized the Taurus G3 pistol from Erika Williams’ residence.

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