MOSCOW, Idaho — Authorities say a University of Idaho professor who gunned down a graduate student he had recently dated and then killed himself last week had previously cleared a background check and was issued a concealed weapons permit.
Latah County Sheriff Wayne Rausch said no flags were raised when 31-year-old Ernesto Bustamante applied for the firearms permit, which was issued about five months before the murder-suicide in late August.
The Lewiston Tribune reports a request for copies of Bustamante’s application and permit were denied. Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson says that’s because these records are exempt from public disclosure in Idaho, even if the person issued the permit is dead.
Police say Bustamante resigned from the university three days before killing 22-year-old Katy Benoit outside her Moscow home last Monday. He shot her 11 times at close range with a .45-caliber handgun.
The two had dated previously, but Benoit had complained to the university that Bustamante was threatening her after they broke up.
Bustamante, according to police reports, took his own life several hours later by shooting himself in the head with a .44-caliber revolver.
Idaho is a “shall-issue” state whereby permits must be authorized unless a person is found, among other things, to be a felon, a fugitive, an addict or mentally ill.
Bustamante, according to police reports, was said to have exhibited multiple personalities, had been prescribed a variety of medications and possessed a number of weapons in addition to the ones he used to kill Benoit and himself. Three more handguns, a .22 rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun were found in a car Bustamante had rented, and police earlier disclosed that six firearms had been found in Bustamante’s hotel room where he died at the University-Inn Best Western.