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Mo. man faces prison for buying gun used to kill off-duty firefighter

Kansas City firefighter Anthony Santi was fatally shot with a handgun purchased and modified by a convicted felon


Photo/Kansas City (Mo.) Fire Department

By Anna Spoerre
The Kansas City Star

A Kansas City man is sentenced to seven years in federal prison for illegally purchasing a gun that was eventually used to kill an off-duty firefighter in October.

Ja’Von L. Taylor, 24, pleaded guilty in March to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of possessing a machine gun, after he converted a Glock .40-caliber handgun into an automatic weapon.

On Oct. 6, Anthony Santi, 41, was shot by a woman using Taylor’s gun during an argument outside an Independence gas station.

The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office declined to charge the woman who shot Santi, saying she was protected under Missouri’s “stand your ground” self-defense law when she saw Taylor was being “strangled.”

Taylor, who was previously convicted on felony robbery and marijuana distribution charges, was not legally allowed to own firearms or ammunition.

Santi joined the Kansas City Fire Department in 2011 as a firefighter and EMT. His daughter was “the light of his life,” according to his obituary.

The shooting

On the afternoon of the shooting, Santi, who was not on the clock as a firefighter at the time, was at a gas station on 11100 East U.S. 40 Highway in Independence selling “novelty items for the business to sell,” according to the prosecutor’s office.

At the same time, Taylor was reportedly arguing with a clerk about not having the cigars he wanted when Santi intervened and told Taylor to leave. Taylor then “jumped away” from Santi and began to threaten him, court documents show.

The argument moved outside, when Taylor allegedly grabbed the gun out of his SUV. The two struggled over the weapon before Santi put Taylor in a headlock, according to surveillance footage obtained by police.

A woman then got out of the SUV and grabbed the gun in an attempt to stop the fight, according to prosecutors. Security video showed she eventually shot Santi once in the back, killing him.

After police were called to the scene at about 2:30 p.m., they found Taylor at a gas station nearby. Authorities found the machine gun, a broken extended magazine, and a 15-round magazine in his vehicle.

Taylor told police he had bought the gun off the street a few months earlier for $500, according to federal prosecutors. At the time he was on probation for a suspended eight year sentence for first-degree robbery.

The prosecutors office was led to believe, based on the video and a witness, that Taylor was not able to talk or breathe when he was being held down by Santi, prosecutors said. The witness noted Taylor began to turn purple, and the woman holding the gun allegedly begged Santi to stop.

“The witness believed that he heard the victim of the shooting say to the man he was choking, ‘I’m killing you,’” the prosecutor’s office said in an earlier news release announcing their decision not to file charges against the woman.

©2023 The Kansas City Star.
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