An Oklahoma City man was able to buy guns at stores in Moore and Del City, despite being “visibly” mentally ill, in the weeks before he shot his mother to death and later dismembered her corpse, police say.
Gerald David Hume, who had several mental health-related run-ins with Oklahoma City police before his mother's killing in November, bought the guns at a Walmart in Moore and Gun World in Del City, according to Oklahoma City police.
Oklahoma City Police Capt. Dexter Nelson said the fact that Hume, 52, was able to get the guns — despite being “visibly” mentally ill — is a scary reality in Oklahoma and a majority of the states in the nation.
Nelson said officers who've dealt with Hume described him as being “obviously” mentally ill.
“From the officers who responded to the house, they said, ‘The man's visibly unstable.' … That's what they described him as,” he said Thursday. “Look at that picture on TV, or whatever. Does this man look like he should have a gun?”
Nelson said Hume bought rifles Sept. 25 at the Walmart in Moore. He said Hume bought a Glock handgun the next day at Gun World.
In Oklahoma, mental health records are not routinely sent to the federal database used to screen potential gun buyers, Nelson said. Most other states fall into the same category.
“He lied on the application like everybody else does,” Nelson said. “With the state not reporting to that network, they're not going to find anything, even if he had been involuntarily committed. Because we're one of the states that doesn't normally report.”
A report released in late 2011 by the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that Oklahoma had sent just two mental health records to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is commonly referred to as NICS.
Most of the states in U.S. have reported fewer than 1,000 records. A handful of states, including Texas and California, are responsible for the bulk of the mental health records that have been shared since NICS was launched in the 1990s.
“You can be just as crazy as the day is long, but if police haven't made contact with you to commit you … you're not going to be in that system,” Nelson said. “There's a lot of people out there taking medication that won't show up on a background check as … having a mental illness because police haven't contacted them, because of their mental illness.”
In Oklahoma — and many other states — it wouldn't matter because there is no law that requires — or even allows — law enforcement agencies to share mental health records they obtain, according to the report from the mayors' group.
And there doesn't seem to be a simple solution.
“The reasons for noncompliance are widely disparate and complex,” the report states. “Even among states with relatively successful record-submission programs, there is great variation in both the number and kind of mental health records being submitted to NICS.
“But a few common obstacles — privacy issues, logistical problems, lack of funding and lack of leadership — impair efforts in many states.”
About the crime
Gerald Hume was taken into custody Nov. 14 after an 11-hour standoff with police at his mother's home in southeast Oklahoma City. Before that, police had been to the residence numerous times looking for Janet Kay Hume, the defendant's mother.
Gerald Hume was described by a relative as “a known schizophrenic” who hears voices and requires treatment, police Detective David Jacobson reported in an affidavit for a search warrant.
Janet Hume, who was 77, had been reported missing by relatives in the days leading up to the standoff.
During the standoff, Gerald Hume admitted to a police negotiator that he had shot his mother in the chest, police Detective Ryan Porter reported in a court affidavit filed with the charge.
Police removed numerous guns, rifles and ammunition from the home he shared his mother. Janet Hume's body was found in a bedroom after a tactical team entered the residence.
Police also found a dead house cat and unspecified body parts that belonged to Janet Hume inside a freezer.
Gerald Hume's next court date is a Feb. 13 preliminary hearing, at which time a judge will decide whether the defendant will stand trial based on evidence and testimony from witnesses.
A district judge denied bond for Gerald David Hume due to the “gruesome nature of the alleged crime,” records show.