Authorities originally told relatives of victims that the weapon had been disposed of
An assault rifle tied to at least seven unsolved murders has been discovered on public display at the British Imperial War Museum in London, reports the BBC.
British investigators re-examining a plethora of paramilitary murders committed in Northern Ireland tracked down the VZ58 rifle to an exhibition at the museum dedicated to the period of ethnonationalist conflict in the region, commonly referred to as the Troubles.
A forensic examination conducted nearly two decades ago proved that the rifle was one of two weapons used in an attack on a Belfast betting shop in 1992. The weapon was also linked to the unsolved murders of two men in 1988, among other cases.
“I am absolutely shocked,” Billy McManus, whose father was murdered during the betting shop incident, told the BBC. “What does that say about their treatment of the case? They just don’t care.”
Authorities had originally told family members that the rifle had been “disposed of.”
Representatives from the museum said they received the gun from the Royal Ulster Constabulary Weapons and Explosives Research Center and were only told the weapon had been used during unspecified “events.”
Museum officials are reportedly working in tandem with internal investigators to see if any of other firearms in their collection might have also been tied to murder cases.