Should accused cop shooter have been on the streets in the first place?

Should accused cop shooter have been on the streets in the first place? »Play Video
James Todd Sapp appears in court Tuesday, July 1, 2014 accused of shooting and wounding a Vancouver police officer during a traffic stop.

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- KATU’s On Your Side Investigators have made a shocking discovery that has some asking if the career criminal suspected of shooting a Vancouver police officer Monday should even have been on the streets in the first place.

James Sapp was arrested and accused of illegally possessing ammunition as a felon two years ago. KATU’s On Your Side Investigators discovered that case was thrown out for two reasons: The federal attorney involved was basically too busy to deal with it, and Sapp was said to be very sick at the time.

Sapp is now locked up in the Clark County Jail. He’s facing attempted murder and other charges in the shooting that wounded Vancouver Officer Dustin Goudschaal. Investigators say Sapp shot Goudschaal seven times during a traffic stop.

Should Sapp have been on the streets in the first place?

In 2010, deputies investigated accusations Sapp choked a 12-year-old-boy in Ridgefield and punched a relative of the child. Sapp was convicted in the case and served about a year in prison.

What deputies say they found inside Sapp's home during that investigation caught the eye of an FBI agent. The agent says an unused shotgun shell was found in the house along with other ammunition and a large number of dolls Sapp reportedly collected.

In 2012, the agent implored federal attorneys to prosecute Sapp for illegally possessing ammunition as a felon. Sapp was arrested in April of that year on the ammunition charge and was even detained for a few days at a federal detention facility in Seattle. Sapp was eventually let go, however, and after numerous attempts to try and extend the deadline to indict him, the feds ultimately gave up.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office dismissed the case because there were “unavoidable conflicts” with the federal attorney's schedule and because Sapp was suffering from a variety of health problems, including the “possibility of cancer and heart-related disease.”

KATU called and emailed the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle several times before airing this report but has not gotten a response.

Sapp was a felon long before deputies say they found ammunition in his house. That alleged violation carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Sapp, a career criminal and white supremacist, might have been locked up on Monday if the case had been prosecuted.