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Air Force Failed To Report Texas Church Shooter To FBI Several Times

A newly released Defense Department report says the Air Force ​missed six separate opportunities to report Devin Kelley to the FBI.
Posted at 10:55 PM, Dec 07, 2018

The Air Force failed on several occasions to report an airman's criminal background to the FBI. That airman later went on to kill 26 people at a Texas church.

Devin Patrick Kelley opened fired during services at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Nov. 5, 2017.  

The Air Force admitted shortly after the shooting that it failed to report Kelley had received a general court martial for domestic violence. That information, had it been reported to the FBI, would've made him ineligible to legally purchase a gun.

But a broader investigation from the Defense Department's inspector general now says the Air Force actually missed six separate opportunities to report him to the FBI. At multiple stages of the investigation into the airman's abuse of his wife and stepson, the Air Force should have submitted his fingerprints to the FBI. Those fingerprints would have ended up in the National Criminal Background Check System, which could've stopped him from buying a gun.

The investigation found in some cases, Air Force staff had not been trained on reporting procedures. Still, the report concludes that there was "no valid reason" for why the Air Force didn't submit Kelley's fingerprints, and it failing to do so "had drastic consequences."

The report ultimately makes several recommendations, including that the Air Force better train its staff and that it conduct background checks on applicants prior to basic training.