Ex-cop, son accused of selling guns illegally

Posted: February 28, 2012

ONE GUY shoves a wad of small bills into a stranger's hand, then another guy passes him a cheap, little handgun. It's a weapon one could easily tuck into a waistband or grip tightly in a jacket pocket on a busy drug corner.

Sounds like any other shady gun deal that might go down in a Philly alley, adding to the flood of illegal guns already on the street.

But when investigators witnessed Emanuel Farmer allegedly purchase two handguns illegally on Jan. 28, he was at a gun show in the National Guard Armory in the Northeast, not an alley.

And the two Langhorne men who allegedly sold him the handguns should have known better.

Pasquale Fattore, 75, a retired Philadelphia police officer, and his son Patrick, who ran for constable in Middletown Township, Bucks County, were charged with conspiracy and illegal transfer of firearms after investigators with the state attorney general's gun-violence task force witnessed them allegedly sell the guns to Farmer.

Both are scheduled for a preliminary hearing this morning.

The Fattores were visibly upset during an initial court appearance on Valentine's Day, a law-enforcement source said, but Magistrate Judge Timothy O'Brien was apparently more upset that an ex-cop stood accused. O'Brien railed against the Fattores, the source said.

"From the mayor on down to the general public, they have had it with the illegal handguns on the streets, and they're expecting the courts to do something about it and I'm going to do it," O'Brien said, according to the source.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Farmer told investigators that he and his wife were looking at guns in the Armory at Roosevelt Boulevard and Southampton Road when "the younger Italian guy" tapped him on the shoulder and told him "he had guns for sale."

Investigators said they witnessed the Fattores talking with Farmer about 11:50 a.m. and watched as the group moved to an entrance near the back of the building. There, according to the affidavit, Farmer handed Pasquale a bundle of cash and Patrick gave him a small, black handgun.

Farmer, who faces four charges, then went into the bathroom, came out, and bought another small handgun, again giving money to Pasquale Fattore, the affidavit said. There was no paperwork or receipts, no way for father and son to know who Farmer was. All three were detained at the show.

In Pennsylvania, handgun sales must be handled by licensed dealers or at a sheriff's office, and both parties must complete state and federal forms, including the State Police instant-check system, which would determine whether the buyer was permitted to own a gun. Farmer, it turns out, did not have a criminal record.

FOP President John McNesby said Pasquale Fattore, an FOP member who was on the force from 1964 to 1986, should have known the law. "There are too many people with guns on the streets as it is," McNesby said.

The affidavit said investigators found $120 in $1 bills and $80 in $5 bills on Pasquale Fattore. His son also had four other handguns in a plastic container, including two "Saturday Night Specials" and a Walter PPK, the gun James Bond made famous, the affidavit said.

Pasquale was released on $50,000 bail and Patrick was released on $250,000 bail. The elder Fattore could not be reached for comment, but his wife, when reached by phone last week, said he did not want to discuss the arrest.

Patrick Fattore, when reached on Feb. 18, described the incident as a "big misunderstanding and a mistake" and said he "objected" to the Daily News' writing a story about the incident.

"We're public figures," the longtime Amtrak employee said.

Police sources said that Patrick Fattore complained to Judge O'Brien during the hearing about "financial problems." Court records show that he and his wife filed for bankruptcy last year.

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