A gun used by Texas Democratic candidate for governor Lupe Valdez when she was Dallas County Sheriff has not been returned, Sheriff's Department records show.
Valdez was supplied with the Beretta 9mm pistol in 2011 when a gun of the same model she owned "sustained a malfunction," according to a sheriff's department report obtained by The Dallas Morning News.
"It is likely that this weapon could have been stolen or misplaced during Sheriff Valdez's moving transition," the July report stated.
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NBC 5 Law Enforcement Expert Don Peritz retired in 2013 after 33 years with the Dallas County Sheriff's Department. He had to account for every piece of department-issued equipment before signing off.
"Uniforms and gun belts and body armor and guns, if you're issued a weapon," Peritz said. "They go down a checklist and everybody that you turn those items in to initials off that you turned those items in and they're back in inventory... Because this is the sheriff, don't know if they waived that, if they didn't stick to the protocol, if they did stick to the protocol, it's unclear."
Peritz said it's unusual to lose track of a gun and finding it is a high priority.
"Certainly if you have a gun that's missing it's a liability. It's a huge liability and it was carried by the chief law enforcement officer in Dallas County at last note," Peritz said.
Valdez campaign press secretary Juan Bautista Dominguez issued a statement Monday saying the weapon could have been misplaced during Valdez's transition out of the department.
On Thursday, Valdez released a statement saying she followed protocol to return the weapon and believes it was misplaced during her transition out of the department.
“I have been a responsible gun owner for over 40 years. Throughout my career in the military and law enforcement I have always followed departmental protocols to secure my weapons. During my transition from Sheriff to candidate in 2017, I followed protocol to return Sheriff issued property. Once I was notified that my weapon was not accounted for, I did my due diligence to locate the weapon. To my knowledge, my weapon was misplaced during the transition. I’ve been entrusted with a weapon for over 40 years. I’ve been entrusted to lead our men and women in uniform. As a leader, I take responsibility for any error that happened during my transition regarding my weapon. I take gun ownership seriously and I have cooperated with the department. I promise this: I will not stop talking about common sense gun reform and will not be strong armed by my opponent to silence the debate on gun violence and responsible ownership.”
A public information officer for the Dallas County Sheriff's Department released this statement Monday:
"Former Dallas County Sheriff Valdez has been approached about a missing firearm that was loaned to her during her administration and is working with the Sheriff’s Department to locate it. The firearm is considered missing and a report has been generated. If it is recovered, the firearm will be readily identifiable. The case is currently under investigation to determine what happened to the firearm."