In October 2018, Hunter Biden’s girlfriend Hallie was searching through Hunter’s pick-up truck because she was ‘suspicious.’ She found a .38 revolver which Hunter had bought days earlier at Starquest Shooters in Delaware.
Hallie wrapped the gun in plastic and drove to Janssen’s Market, a high-end grocery store where they were regulars
She put it in a trash can then went home and told Hunter what she’d done. He ordered her to go back to the store and get it but by the time she returned, it had gone.
They told the store who contacted police and Hunter and Hallie were interviewed by Delaware State Police.
At the same time police were investigating, Secret Service agents visited Starquest Shooters and asked for records that proved Hunter owned the weapon.
The store owner refused to hand them over; the gun was returned days later by a man who regularly rummaged through the store’s trash bins.
No one was arrested and the incident was not widely reported on.
Biden wasn’t entitled to Secret Service protection at the time but agents were keeping an ‘informal hand’ on him, sources say.
The incident began when Hallie searched Hunter’s pickup, which was parked at her home in Wilmington, because of unspecified “suspicions she had,” according to the Delaware State Police report. Inside the truck, she found a .38 revolver.
Hallie took the gun to Janssen’s Market, a nearby high-end grocery store where the Bidens are longtime regular customers. There, she tossed the gun, wrapped in a black shopping bag, into a trash bin outside of the store.
Later that day, Hallie informed Hunter of what she had done, and he instructed her to retrieve the gun, according to the police report. When Hallie returned to the grocery store, she found that the gun was missing from the garbage bin and reported the issue to the store. Police received calls from the store’s general manager, Paula Janssen, and from another person, according to the report.
The missing gun caused heightened concern, according to the police report, because the grocery store sits across the street from Alexis I. du Pont High School.
Arriving on the scene, Delaware State Police retrieved security camera footage from the store and interviewed Janssen, the store manager. “We complied with the police and gave them whatever security footage we could,” Janssen told POLITICO.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation also responded to the scene, according to people familiar with the situation. At the time, the FBI was monitoring Hunter Biden as part of an investigation that remains ongoing and that currently focuses on his taxes. The FBI declined to comment.
In addition to questioning Hallie, police called Hunter to the scene, where he was questioned outside the store’s loading dock area and explained he used the gun for target practice, according to the report.
At one point, two of Janssen’s employees, described by the police report as “Mexican males,” walked past the loading dock area, and Hunter told a police officer that the store had some suspicious people working for it. Asked if he was referring to those two staffers, Hunter responded, “Yea, prolly illegal,” according to the report.
When a police officer asked Hunter whether the gun had been used in a crime, the officer reported that Hunter “became very agitated with me and asked me if I was intentionally trying to make him mad,” according to the report.
When the officer asked Hunter whether he had been doing drugs or drinking heavily, he responded, “Listen, it isn’t like that. I think she believes I was gonna kill myself,” according to the report.
An officer asked Hunter whether he had called his father about the incident before he arrived. Hunter responded, “I have never called my dad for anything,” according to the police report.
After being questioned, Hunter retrieved the case for the gun — which included the gun’s serial number — from Hallie’s house and returned to the grocery store to hand it over to police, according to the report.
While police questioned Hunter and Hallie, two Secret Service agents arrived at the store where Hunter had purchased the gun, StarQuest Shooters & Survival Supply in Wilmington, according to the two people familiar with the incident. The agents showed their badges and identification cards to Palmieri, the store’s owner, and asked to take possession of the Firearms Transaction Record that Hunter had filled out to buy the gun earlier that month, according to the people familiar with the incident.
Palmieri refused to hand over the transaction record to the Secret Service agents because such records fall under the purview of the ATF. The Secret Service agents left without the records, according to the people familiar with the case. Later that day, the ATF arrived at the store to inspect the records.