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Emergency personnel surround Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church after the 2017 mass shooting.
A federal judge ruled that the U.S. Air Force bears primary responsibility for the Sutherland Springs massacre because it failed to enter the shooter's criminal history into a database that should have kept him from buying guns, the Associated Press reports
In a ruling signed Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez in San Antonio said the Air Force was “60% responsible” for the 2017 shooting by Devin Patrick Kelley that left 26 people dead at Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church, according to the AP. The church is located 30 minutes southeast of the Alamo City.
Kelley was discharged from the Air Force in 2014 after being convicted of domestic violence against a former wife and stepson, according to press reports. The Air Force publicly acknowledged
that it failed six times to enter details of the felony into a national database, which would have prevented the former serviceman from legally buying a firearm.
Rodriguez ordered attorneys to prepare for a later trial that will decide the damages the federal government must pay to the victims' families who brought the suit, the AP reports.
The ruling comes two weeks after the Texas Supreme Court ruled
that survivors and relatives of the dead couldn't sue Academy Sports and Outdoors, the chain where Kelly bought the AR-556 rifle used in the shooting.
Kelley's shooting spree, which took place during a Sunday service, was one of the worst mass killings in Texas history. The victims included several children and a pregnant woman.
A pair of Sutherland Springs residents pursued Kelley after he fired more than 450 rounds in the church, according to the AP. He's believed to have died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds after crashing his vehicle.
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