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Devin Kelley Murdered 26 People With Legally-Purchased Firearms. The Air Force Could Have Prevented It 'Multiple' Times
The failure of the U.S. Air Force to report a domestic violence conviction to civilian authorities "had drastic consequences" that led to the shooting deaths of 26 people and the wounding of 22 others at a Texas church in 2017, and it "should not have occurred," according to a new report released Friday from the Pentagon Inspector General.
On Nov. 5, 2017, former Air Force service member Devin Kelley, 26, used three legally-purchased firearms to carry out the deadliest church shooting in U.S. history at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. But as the report makes clear, there was "no valid reason" why the service failed on multiple occasions to submit fingerprints to the FBI — which would have prevented the purchase of those weapons.
"As described in detail in this report, in November 2012, while in the USAF, Kelley was the subject of two law enforcement investigations, one led by the 49th Security Forces at Holloman Air Force Base (HAFB), the other led by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) Detachment 225," the report said.
"As a result of the investigations, Kelley was convicted by General Court-Martial of an assault on both his wife and stepson, which is reportable to the FBI in accordance with DoD policy. This conviction should have prevented Kelley from purchasing a firearm from a licensed firearms dealer."
Kelley's fingerprints or final disposition report should have been submitted to the FBI on a number of occasions: After the service established probable cause that Kelley had assaulted his stepson and wife; at the conclusion of his court-martial, and when he entered post-trial confinement.
Air Force prosecutors were well aware of Kelley's penchant for violence: In 2012 he was convicted at court-martial of "fracturing his baby stepson's skull and assaulting his first wife," NBC News reported.
But despite being sentenced to military prison for a year, being reduced in rank to an E-1, and receiving a bad conduct discharge, the details of his past were not reported to civilian authorities.
The report concluded that a number of Air Force personnel were either not aware or did not understand the policy of sending fingerprints to the FBI, or they simply did not follow them.
"However, the USAF did not submit Kelley’s fingerprints and final disposition report to the FBI at any time," the IG report said, in a particularly damning passage. "If Kelley’s fingerprints were submitted to the FBI, he would have been prohibited from purchasing a firearm from a licensed firearms dealer. Because his fingerprints were not submitted to the FBI CJIS Division, Kelley was able to purchase firearms, which he used to kill 26 people at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs on November 5, 2017."
The report concluded that Air Force personnel had "four opportunities" to collect and submit Kelley's fingerprints to the FBI, and two opportunities to submit his final disposition report, "as required, but never did so."
Any one of those reports would have raised red flags at the time Kelley later purchased his weapons.
"In sum, we concluded that there was no valid reason for the USAF’s failures to submit Kelley’s fingerprints and final disposition report to the FBI CJIS Division."
You can read the full IG investigation below
Hand grenades from the last major battle of the Revolutionary War have repeatedly scrambled bomb squads in Virginia's capital
In an uh-oh episode of historic proportions, hand grenades from the last major battle of the Revolutionary War recently and repeatedly scrambled bomb squads in Virginia's capital city.
Wait – they had hand grenades in the Revolutionary War? Indeed. Hollow iron balls, filled with black powder, outfitted with a fuse, then lit and thrown.
And more than two dozen have been sitting in cardboard boxes at the Department of Historic Resources, undetected for 30 years.
BERRIEN COUNTY, MI -- The wife of an Army sergeant killed in December admitted that she planned his killing together with another man, communicating on Snapchat in an attempt to hide their communications, according to statements she made to police.
White supremacist Coast Guard officer stockpiled firearms and hit list of Democrats for mass terror attack
A Coast Guard lieutenant arrested this week planned to "murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country," according to a court filing requesting he be detained until his trial.
At least 4 American veterans among group arrested in Haiti with arsenal of weapons and tactical gear
At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.
Police in Port-au-Prince arrested five Americans, two Serbians, and one Haitian man at a police checkpoint on Sunday, according to The Miami-Herald. The men told police they were on a "government mission" but did not specify for which government, according to The Herald.
They also told police that "their boss was going to call their boss," implying that someone high in Haiti's government would vouch for them and secure their release, Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles told NPR.
What they were actually doing or who they were potentially working for remains unclear. A State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose they were aware that Haitian police arrested a "group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens," but declined to answer whether the men were employed by or operating under contract with the U.S. government.
The State Department announced Wednesday that notorious ISIS bride Hoda Muthana, a U.S.-born woman who left Alabama to join ISIS but began begging to return to the U.S. after recently deserting the terror group, is not a U.S. citizen and will not be allowed to return home.