A gun used to kill a woman last month on the Far West Side belonged to a Columbus police sergeant, and investigators are trying to figure out how the murder suspect got it.

Sgt. Douglas Williams, a 31-year police veteran who works in the Strategic Response Bureau, has told homicide investigators that he didn't realize the gun was missing until detectives asked him about it.

Williams, 56, told investigators the gun might have been displaced or lost during a recent move or taken when his unmarked police car was stolen in June, said Amanda Ford, a police spokeswoman.

The .45-caliber gun used to be Williams' service weapon, Ford said. When the division switched to .40-caliber guns about two years ago, officers were given the option to buy their old .45s from the city to keep as personal weapons. Williams took that option, Ford said.

The gun turned up during the investigation into the Jan. 20 shooting death of Amanda Gessells, 24. Police charged her live-in boyfriend, John Souza, 31, with murder.

Police have not found any link between Souza and Williams, and Ford said Williams "is in no trouble in association with the homicide." No internal investigation was under way yesterday, she said.

On June 7, Williams reported that his city-owned unmarked Chevrolet Lumina was stolen while parked in the 200 block of N. 5th Street. He said an extra set of keys was in the car, and a police report noted that it didn't appear that the car had been locked.

Williams did not report having a gun in the car at the time.

The car was recovered June 12, but some of the items that had been inside were missing, Ford said.

By Theodore Decker
Source: THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH