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Judge points finger at Air Force in 2017 church shooting


Judge points finger at Air Force in 2017 church shooting

The military branch failed to submit the criminal history of a former service member who went on to kill more than two dozen people in 2017. U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez in San Antonio on Wednesday said if the Air Force had put the information in a database, Devin Kelley would not have been allowed to purchase firearms, which might have stopped him from opening fire at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Families of the victims sued the federal government. No one else besides the Air Force knew the extent of Kelley’s violent capabilities, the judge said, ordering a later trial to decide damages.

What happened in Sutherland Springs? Kelley on Nov. 5, 2017, fired at least 450 rounds at worshippers at the Baptist church. He killed 26 people, including the unborn baby of one of the victims. An armed resident confronted Kelley as he left the church and exchanged fire with him, and two residents gave chase. Kelley died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot after crashing his vehicle.

Dig deeper: Read Charissa Koh’s report from Sutherland Springs a year after the massacre. You can find all of WORLD’s coverage of the shooting here.


Rachel Lynn Aldrich Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.

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