Courts

Social media posts led police to track star’s ghost gun stash

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In December of 2021, former Cal Poly Humboldt runner Kianti Gix posted a YouTube video of something that looked illegal – a CNC machine carving out an 80% receiver for an AR-15. One viewer decided to warn him.

“Might not want to post things like this,” the user wrote.

Gix shot back, “And why is that?”

A second viewer chimed in, warning Gix that building unregistered assault weapons out of your own home is illegal.

“We just don’t want law enforcement busting down your door so you can get a few likes,” the viewer said. “I don’t care what you’re doing with your milling machine, I’m just warning you these videos are really easy to trace to the source.”

Gix ultimately brushed off the warnings, telling the commenters he was “aware of all state regulations and laws” and follows them like every other citizen.

Four months later, a SWAT team in Sacramento kicked his door down. They seized 16 weapons, body armor carriers, partially completed ghost guns, and several machines used to build them. Gix’s dog was fatally shot after biting an officer, and the former collegiate athlete was hit with 24 charges ranging from child endangerment to gun possession.

At a court hearing in June, it was revealed that his social media posts led investigators to him after an unrelated arrest near Tenaya Avenue following a shooting.

Officer John Cumberland testified that he attempted to pull over a white BMW for tint violations when the vehicle abruptly sped up, reaching speeds of up to 50 miles per hour as it fled southbound on Norwood from Fairbanks, later turning onto Las Palmas Avenue.

“The vehicle made an eastbound turn onto Las Palmas,” Cumberland recalled on the stand. “While it did, it did not make a turn signal and almost struck [a] bicyclist.”

The vehicle came to a stop in front of a house, and it was discovered that the license of the driver, Gix, was suspended. Officers found 115 rounds of live ammunition stuffed in the driver’s side door panel and MDMA in Gix’s pocket.

Gix was ultimately let out on bail and, the day after his arrest in front of his home, Officer Michael Schraer began scrutinizing his Instagram page. The photos of Gix, lodged as exhibits with the court and viewed by The Update, show the 33-year-old holding rifles with his children, showing off a MP5 in his cap and gown, and holding two assault rifles with two kids on his bed, also touching the weapons.

“Not only does he have a very large number of firearms, he also manufactures them at his residence, where minor children live, and, as the court has seen in the people’s exhibits, have access to,” Deputy District Attorney Mai Trieu said. “He’s posing in photographs and is endangering the life of these children.”

Schraer testified that, following the raid on Gix’s home, officers found two AR-style rifles in a bedroom closet, along with nine ghost guns and a pistol modified with a full-auto switch. More weapons and body armor carriers were found in a safe in the master bedroom.

Ghost guns, a term for privately manufactured, unserialized firearms that can be built through kits sold online, are the subject of a federal crackdown by the Biden administration. The 46th President has said that authorities have been able to trace less than 1 percent of ghost guns that crop up at crime scenes across the country.

“We also located a CNC machine,” Schraer recalled. “Along with that, we located a drill press and dozens of rounds of ammunition.”

According to ATF Task Force officer Ryan Oliver, who testified at the June hearing as an expert on weapons, building guns out of your own home is not illegal, however, constructing high-powered weapons that are already prohibited by law is. Gix is also prohibited from owning firearms as a convicted felon.

At a separate hearing last month before Judge Steve White, one child endangerment charge against Gix was dropped due to issues regarding the statute of limitations, and he withdrew his guilty plea as White considers extending a court offer.

“There’s no offer being made in your case, and I did indicate to [your lawyer] that I would consider making a court offer to see if we can get your case settled before trial,” White told Gix. “From my perspective, the best way to get there is the pre-plea report.”

The Sacramento County Probation Department will compile the report, which will include a recommended sentence, a review of Gix’s personal history, and a summary of the case with input from prosecutors, Gix’s lawyer, and Gix himself if he chooses to speak with investigators.

Ethan Biando
Ethan Biando is a freelance journalist from Sacramento. His writing focuses on crime, courts, and policing. Find him on Twitter @ethanb822

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