Indianapolis man facing federal straw-purchasing charges tied to 7-year-old’s killing

The charges are the latest high-profile example of a key Justice Department initiative that drew Attorney General Merrick Garland to Chicago this summer.

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A memorial outside slain 7-year-old Jaslyn Adams’ grandmothers’ West Side home on April 21.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

An Indianapolis man is facing federal charges for the alleged illegal purchase of the gun that was later used to kill 7-year-old Jaslyn Adams in a West Side McDonald’s drive-thru, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

The charges are the latest high-profile example of an alleged straw purchaser, a key target of a Justice Department violent crime initiative that drew U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to Chicago this summer.

Eric Keys, 23, is charged in federal court in Indianapolis with making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm and making a false statement about information required to be kept by a licensed firearms dealer. That’s according to a news release from the office of John Childress, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.

The news release alleges Keys illegally purchased a firearm last March in Indianapolis that was then used to kill a child in Chicago in April. Though the release does not identify Jaslyn by name, a source confirmed for the Chicago Sun-Times that she was the victim of the shooting.

Court records related to Keys’ case were not immediately available.

Three men — Devontay Anderson, Demond Goudy and Marion Lewis — are charged in Cook County in connection with Jaslyn’s murder. Anderson was arrested in Chicago in July following a national manhunt that also triggered federal charges. 

A six-page federal complaint filed against Anderson described the scene of Jaslyn’s April 18 shooting in the 3200 block of West Roosevelt Road. It said police arrived at the McDonald’s there and found a 2003 Infiniti sedan “riddled with bullets” in the drive-thru lane. Jaslyn and her father had been in the Infiniti about 4:20 p.m. when two gunmen got out of an Audi and fired into the Infiniti, authorities said.

Jaslyn was killed, and her father was wounded.

The complaint also described surveillance video viewed by the Chicago Police Department. It said the Audi had three occupants when it pulled behind the Infiniti.

“Two adult males then exited the Audi,” the complaint said. “One male, later identified by CPD as Anderson, exited the rear passenger side of the Audi brandishing a Draco AK-47 pistol. The other male exited the Audi from the front passenger seat brandishing a Glock pistol. Both men opened fire on the Infiniti, firing dozens of rounds before re-entering the Audi and leaving the scene.”

Federal authorities in Indianapolis said investigators found a firearm in the home of one of the suspected shooters. An analysis by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined it was used to kill Jaslyn. Prosecutors allege it’s the same gun Keys illegally purchased in March.

Straw purchasers typically use their clean criminal records to put guns in the hands of people who aren’t supposed to have them. The news release from Childress’ office touted additional recent indictments charging Indianapolis residents with straw-purchasing crimes connected to Chicago murders, mass shootings and the unspecified shooting of a Chicago police officer.

Federal prosecutors in Chicago also filed straw-purchasing charges in August against Jamel Danzy, a Hammond man who allegedly made the illegal purchase of the gun used to kill Chicago Police Officer Ella French.

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