Mother of Phoenix officer’s alleged shooter sentenced in gun case

Oct 6, 2023, 1:11 PM | Updated: 3:05 pm

PHOENIX — A woman was sentenced to 10 months in prison Monday for illegally buying a gun for her son, who is the man accused of shooting Phoenix Police Officer Tyler Moldovan, authorities said.

The gun in the case against Tempe’s Erika LaRae Williams was not the one used to seriously wound Moldovan two years ago, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona said in a press release Friday.

Williams, 52, pleaded guilty in May to making a material false statement during the purchase of a firearm. Her sentence in the federal case includes three years of supervised release.

Why was mother Phoenix officer’s alleged shooter arrested?

Erika Williams lied while filling out forms for the purchase of a Taurus G3 pistol on Sept. 30, 2020, five month after her son, Essa Williams, was released from prison, prosecutors said.

She asserted she was buying the gun for herself when, in fact, it was for her son, who was prohibited from possessing a firearm because of felony convictions.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives seized the weapon from her residence on March 10, 2022, about three months after her son was arrested for allegedly shooting Moldovan.

A lengthy text message exchange between the mother and son about the purchase was found on on Erika Williams’ cellphone, prosecutors said.

Essa Williams was arrested after Moldovan was shot multiple times on Dec. 14, 2021, as police searched for a man seen running from a car that reportedly had been driven erratically a short time earlier.

Essa Williams is awaiting trial in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Moldovan was put on life support and wasn’t expected to survive. But despite suffering life-altering injuries, he was released from the hospital nearly six months after the shooting.

In an emotional moment in April of this year, he got out of his wheelchair with the help of his wife, Chelsea, and threw out the first pitch at the Arizona Diamondbacks’ home opener.

Mother wasn’t only person to help Essa Williams get gun

Erika LaRae Williams isn’t the only person serving time for helping Essa Williams get his hands on a gun after he got out of prison.

In August, Dwayne Keith Anderson, 51, was sentenced to six months in prison in a separate case.

Anderson, a federal firearms licensee, pleaded guilty in May to making of a false statement during the purchase of a firearm.

Prosecutors say he met Essa Williams at a gun show and helped him avoid a background check to purchase a Masterpiece Arms Defender 9mm pistol.

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Mother of Phoenix officer’s alleged shooter sentenced in gun case