(HorizonPost.com) – In November 2017, former Air Force Airman Devin Kelley entered the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, shooting and killing 26 people and injuring 22 others. On February 7, a federal judge in San Antonio ruled the Air Force had to pay over $230 million to the victims’ families and survivors from the horrific event.
According to AP News, US District Judge Xavier Rodriguez previously stated the military branch was 60% responsible for the incident because it failed to report Kelley’s prior domestic assault conviction to the proper authorities, which would have flagged him for disqualification of gun ownership.
A judge ordered the U.S. Air Force to pay more than $230 million in damages to survivors and victims’ families of a deadly shooting at a Texas church for failing to flag a conviction that might have kept the gunman from legally buying the gun. #txlege https://t.co/iSMst79qZa
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) February 7, 2022
The Air Force had previously court-martialed the murderer for assaulting his wife and stepson. In 2012, Kelley escaped a mental health center and broke the law by illegally bringing guns onto a New Mexico military base.
According to the Pentagon, the military must submit assault convictions to the FBI to enter the guilty party into the National Criminal Information Center database, but the Air Force failed to do so. Following the mass shooting, about 80 claimants filed suit for $418 million, which the Justice Department attempted to settle for $31.8 million. Although no amount of money can change what happened in the church in 2017, or bring back the lives lost, the families stated they wanted to ensure nothing like the tragic incident would ever happen again.
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