A federal judge on Tuesday has ruled that the failure of the US Air Force to log the criminal history into a database is the primary factor for the 2017 mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
District Judge Xavier Rodriguez for the Western District of Texas determined that the USAF’s failure to enter the gunman’s criminal history into a federal background check database resulted in the legal purchase of the weapons used.
According to Rodriguez, had the USAF followed protocol, due diligence may have prevented shooter and former Airman Devin Patrick Kelley from purchasing firearms.
On November 5, 2017, Kelley killed 25 people and wounded 20 others at the First Baptist Church before he was pursued and wounded by local resident Stephen Willeford, who used his AR-15 to stop Kelley.
Mortally wounded, Kelley took his own life.
According to The Hill, Kelley committed a disqualifying offense -one that would have been sufficient to prevent him from owning a firearm- after he was convicted by a general court martial of domestic assault on his wife and child.
While the initial blame fell upon the AR-15, it was later turned towards the FBI, who should have disqualified Kelley during the background check process.
However, it has since been determined that the Air Force was to blame.
“The trial conclusively established that no other individual -not even Kelley’s own parents or partners -knew as much as the United States about the violence that Devin Kelley had threatened to commit and was capable of committing,” Judge Rodriguez’s ruling read. “Moreover, the evidence shows that -had the Government done its job and properly reported Kelley’s information into the background check system- it is more likely than not that Kelley would have been deterred from carrying out the Church shooting.”
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