A federal judge ruled that the US Air Force must pay more than $230 million in damages to the families of survivors and victims of the 2017 Texas church massacre for failing to convict a man who committed a gunman. be legally barred from purchasing the weapon used in the shooting, a federal judge ruled. Monday.
More than two dozen people were killed in a shooting by Devin Patrick Kelly during a Sunday service at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. Kelly, who died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, had served in the Air Force prior to the attack after being shot and chased by two men who heard gunfire in the church.
US District Judge Javier Rodriguez ruled in July that the Air Force was “60% liable” for the attack because it failed to submit Kelly’s assault convictions during his time in the Air Force to a national database.
An Air Force record of Kelly court-martial said that he pleaded guilty to multiple counts of assault, including hitting his wife, strangling her with his own hands, and kicking. He was also convicted of beating his stepson to the head and body “with the potential to cause death or grievous bodily harm.”
In 2012, several months before his sentencing on a domestic violence case, Kelly briefly escaped from a mental health center in New Mexico and got into trouble for bringing guns to a military base and threatening his superiors there. , police reports indicate.
Comal County Sheriff Mark Reynolds said deputies were called to Kelly’s home in New Braunfels in June 2013 about the rape case and investigated for three months. But it appeared they stopped investigating after Kelly left Texas and moved to Colorado. Reynolds said the case was then listed as inactive.
Under Pentagon rules, information about convictions of military personnel in crimes such as assault must be submitted to the Criminal Justice Investigative Services Division of the FBI for inclusion in the National Criminal Information Center database.
For unspecified reasons, the Air Force did not provide information about Kelly as needed.
Lawyers for survivors and relatives of those killed had sought $418 million, while the Justice Department proposed $31.8 million. Messages to the Justice Department, the Air Force and the plaintiffs’ legal team were not immediately returned.
About 80 claimants included relatives of those killed and 21 survivors and their families. Officials put the official death toll at 26 because one of the 25 killed was pregnant.