ATF looking into rock star's shooting range visit

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 27, 2011

By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY — The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is investigating after a rock star with a criminal history joined officers from the Spencer Police Department, Salisbury Police Department and Rowan County Sheriff’s Office at a local shooting range.
Sheriff Kevin Auten said he was first notified by Spencer Police Chief Michael James on July 21 of the incident, which involved former Motley Crew drummer Tommy Lee and other band members at the Rowan County Peace Officer’s Lodge shooting range.
“I just wanted someone outside of our agency to look at it,” Auten said. “Obviously I wasn’t trying to hide it or I wouldn’t have asked the ATF to investigate it.”
Auten said the Peace Officer’s Lodge is a private organization.
“It’s not alarming for people to go down there and shoot that aren’t members,” Auten said.
Auten said James and Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins met after hearing about the incident and agreed to ask the ATF to investigate. There is no timetable on the investigation.
James and Collins could not be reached for comment.
Auten said the incident was brough to his attention because Tommy Lee may be a convicted felon.
Auten said a preliminary search hasn’t confirmed that Lee is a felon, but that out-of-state criminal history is different from North Carolina’s.
“The original complaint was that Tommy Lee is a twice convicted felon,” Auten said. “Out-of-state history is not easy to understand.”
Auten said the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office will undergo an internal review of the incident. Any criminal violations, Auten said, will come from the ATF.