by: Jodie Fleischer Updated:
ATLANTA - James Holmes is accused of bursting into an Aurora Colorado movie theater, killing 12 people and injuring 70 more in July 2012. The thousands of rounds of ammo police said he was carrying were shipped from an Atlanta warehouse.
At the time, the shipping company, Webgistix, was operating in a south Fulton County industrial complex without a business license.
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"Unfortunately, I can't answer questions about that," an office worker told Channel 2 investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer.
Fleischer's investigation revealed evidence that even after the company did fill out the required paperwork, it misrepresented the date it began operating, thus paying lower fees. She also uncovered questions about its ties to the online ammo companies it shipped for.
"We are looking for LuckyGunner or BulkAmmo," Fleischer asked the employee at Webgistix's Atlanta location.
"Unfortunately they are not here anymore," she said.
"Were they ever here?" Fleischer asked.
"I can't answer any questions on that and you actually can't come in or record anything without an appointment," she said.
The employee then refused Fleischer's attempts to make an appointment, and instead handed her an out-of-state phone number belonging to another employee who would not answer any questions either.
Channel 2 left more than 10 messages and visited five locations in two states, trying to track the businesses and owners involved in that Aurora shipment.
Holmes ordered 170 pounds of ammunition from the website BulkAmmo.com on June 29, 2012. Three weeks later, police say he entered the midnight showing of "Batman: The Dark Knight Rises," and opened fire.
"A tear gas bomb went across the screen, and blew up and people were screaming from that, but we thought it was a prank or someone messing around," recalled Bonnie Kate Pourciau. "We didn't realize how bad it was until he started shooting and I knew right away that it was real."
Pourciau and a friend were on a cross-country trip and stopped for one night in Aurora. A night that would change their lives forever.
"It was chaotic, because the movie was still playing, and there was tear gas and he was shooting and everyone was screaming," Pourciau said.
An AR-15 round exploded in Pourciau's knee, bursting her popliteal artery. She started losing blood, fast.
"It's been very hard, I'm not going to lie," said Pourciau, "I've come a long way. God is good."
She's had five surgeries so far, and lives with a constant buzz of pain.
"It was terribly, terribly difficult to watch her hurt," said her mother, Kathleen Pourciau.
She said she often wondered about the guns used, but never about the 6,000 bullets.
"I just think, 'Wow, you can go on the Internet and buy that much. That's something I didn't realize," Pourciau said.
On its website and Facebook page, BulkAmmo lists its location as St. Louis, Mo., and indicates that's the location for its warehouse. Instead it uses a virtual post office box, which allows companies to look like they're somewhere else.
The company is officially registered with the Secretary of State in Tennessee under the name LuckyGunner.com. That website is linked to half a dozen others. Their address is a UPS store in Knoxville.
The two entrepreneurs who founded the websites, Jordan Mollenhour and Dustin Gross, also live in Knoxville. No one would open the door at either of their homes.
The only office address Fleischer could locate was for another Knoxville business owned by the pair. The people working inside refused to answer the locked door.
BulkAmmo and LuckyGunner each guarantee on their websites that the products are ready to ship because of a real-time inventory system.
LuckyGunner acknowledges using the shipper in Atlanta. Fleischer found evidence showing BulkAmmo uses Webgistix too, thanks, in part, to a YouTube phenomenon where satisfied customers post videos of themselves opening their packages of ammo. In several cases, the visible packing slips reveal the address for Webgistix's warehouse in Atlanta.
That means the Fulton County warehouse would have had to store the hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition advertised as
"in stock" on both websites.
Earlier this month, after Fleischer visited the Atlanta Webgistix warehouse, Channel 2 placed orders with BulkAmmo and LuckyGunner. Both shipments arrived under two new shipper names, each with the same originating address in Knoxville.
But LuckyGunner's federal firearms license doesn't use any of the four Knoxville addresses, it also uses Webgistix's address as its own premises location.
"We just didn't know what the relationship was between the two companies?" Fleischer asked the woman at Wegistix's Atlanta warehouse.
"Unfortunately we can't answer any questions on it," she replied.
Webgistix did have to answer to Fulton County earlier this year, after the county caught the company operating without a business license. The company filed paperwork in May 2013, stating it started operating in June 2012, the same month Holmes ordered his ammunition.
But one of the YouTube videos with an Atlanta packing slip was posted months earlier in February 2012.
Channel 2 also found several Webgistix news releases, saying the actual opening of the Atlanta facility was in October 2011.
"It's outrageous," Kathleen Pourciau said. "They're obviously trying to cover something up. I mean why are they hiding. What are they hiding?"
Fulton County intends to find out.
The county's finance director announced he will audit Webgistix after Channel 2 inquired about the questionable dates on the paperwork.
Pourciau just wants honesty.
"I think in every single business you should always be straightforward and clear cut," she said.
Just hours before our story aired, Channel 2 Action News received a call from a man describing himself as a Webgistix spokesman. He refused to give his name or job title.
The spokesman said any failure to comply with Fulton County’s business license regulations was an oversight and was immediately addressed upon hearing from the county.
He refused to address the inaccuracy in the operating date provided to Fulton County, saying it depended on the definition of the word ‘operating.’
He said Webgistix was unaware that LuckyGunner.com had used the Webgistix warehouse address on its federal firearms license.
He confirmed the online ammunition companies are no longer Webgistix customers and ammunition is no longer stored in the South Fulton warehouse.