Quawi Gates, 27, of Chicago, pleaded guilty in January to aiding and abetting in making false records for a firearms dealer. He was sentenced Wednesday partly for recruiting other students at the private Rust College in Holly Springs, Miss., to buy guns in the state. Authorities say the guns were taken to Chicago and ended up with gang members.
William C. Martin, acting U.S. attorney for the northern half of Mississippi, said in a news release that one of the guns was used in the May 19 slaying of off-duty Chicago police officer Thomas Wortham IV. Gates hasn't been charged in Wortham's death.
Wortham, 30, had just returned from a second tour of duty in Iraq with the Wisconsin National Guard and was killed when four men tried to steal his motorcycle, the news release said.
The men shot Wortham, then fired at his father, a retired police officer, when he tried to help. Two of the suspected thieves were shot, one fatally. The other two took off in a car, running over the officer as they fled.
Authorities say at least five guns bought by Mississippi residents for Gates have been used in violent crimes in Chicago by members of the Gangster Disciple street gang.
Four Mississippi residents have been charged in the trafficking case.