Following the horrific shooting incident in Sutherland Springs, Texas, it was reported the Air Force failed to disclose the shooter’s two domestic assault charges to the FBI.
If accurately reported, the charges would have shown up on the federally required background check and may have been prevented Devin Kelley from purchasing the gun.
For the first time since the shooting, the Air Force has commented (per Yahoo News):
The U.S. Air Force’s top civilian official on Thursday publicly acknowledged for the first time that the domestic abuse charges for which the Texas church shooter was court martialed in 2012 should have been reported to the FBI.
The Air Force had previously said that Devin P. Kelley’s conviction was not submitted to the FBI for entry into its National Criminal Information Center database, which is used in background checks on people seeking to buy guns, but it had left open the question of whether it was obliged to do so. The failure enabled Kelley to buy weapons that his conviction should have barred.
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson announced, “The offenses for which the shooter in Texas was court martialed should have been reported. That’s why we launched a full-scale review of this case and all others like it.”
The pair charges of assault led to Kelley receiving “12 months in jail, demoted to the lowest enlisted rank and given a bad conduct discharge.”
The Secretary did not disclose why the Air Force failed to report the information, but said the full investigation is underway; an immediate draft should be made available sometime next week with a full report coming some time later:
Wilson said a draft report on why Kelley’s criminal history was not reported is expected to be completed next week. She said that about 100 people associated with the matter have been interviewed by the Air Force since Sunday.
It will take longer, she said, to finish a full review of Air Force databases to learn whether the problem is systemic. She said one database goes back to 2002 and another to 1996.