‘The system is broken’: Gun surrender laws fail family whose son was murdered

SPOKANE, Wash. — One local family is still trying to heal after their son was murdered in downtown Spokane. The man accused of taking his life wasn’t even supposed to have a gun, which leaves them more frustrated in the laws created to keep people safe.

“The system I feel is broken, so hopefully he will get justice, and we just want people to not forget… forget my son,” said Jakobe Ford’s mother, Robi Rae Riggins.

Ford lost his life in downtown Spokane in early August. He had issues with Michael Le, the man accused of shooting him, in the past. Because of previous charges and no-contact orders, Le was summoned to surrender his weapons. However, the surrender was left up to him.

According to Washington law, gun surrender lies in the hand of the perpetrator. They’re supposed to call the police, and officers will come to pick them up.

“Call up the sheriff’s department or the police department, say, ‘I have firearms that need to be surrendered’ and then we would go and meet them and collect the firearms,” said Jordan Ferguson, a sergeant with the Spokane Police Department.”That’s the way it’s supposed to go.”

The police can’t always search for weapons with these new laws.

As Robi tries to move forward, she says it still hurts.

“It’s painful, you know,” she said. “I’m hoping he wasn’t hurting, that he didn’t suffer.”

She says she’s relying on the strength of her family to get through each day. She also has other young kids who she says she has to be strong for.

“I don’t have a choice. I have to keep going,” Robi said. “I have to take care of my kids.”

The Spokane Police Department is going to implement a new $500,000 grant to help mitigate these murders. They’re hoping more resources can help them address issues sooner.

“We’re going to try and utilize that to have more effective service of these orders, to be more effective at collecting the firearms right at the beginning,” Ferguson said.

Robi’s just hoping something can change in the future, so more families don’t have to experience a loss like this.

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