(VitalNews.org) – In November 2017, Devin Patrick Kelley allegedly dressed in tactical gear and walked up to the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs just outside of San Antonio, Texas, opening fire upon the congregation. The suspect, who was reportedly discharged from the Air Force in New Mexico for violence against his family, killed a total of 26 people and injured 20 others.
On January 9, the Department of Justice filed an appeal to a case from 2021 in which a judge found the US Air Force largely accountable for the attack. The court reportedly found that military officials neglected to add Kelley to a federal database after his domestic assault conviction. Had the military branch done so, the accused gunman might not have been able to legally procure a weapon for his shooting spree. It’s unclear why that didn’t happen.
A judge in 2021 found that the U.S. Air Force was mostly responsible for the rampage, which killed 26 people and injured 22 https://t.co/JdeEFxbYzS
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) January 10, 2023
In February 2022, a federal judge ruled on a case the families of the victims brought against the US government. The court ordered the Air Force to pay over $230 million in damages.
Fharbor wrote about the specifics of the appeals brief. The outlet reported the government isn’t responsible for the shooting under Texas law, saying even a failed background check wouldn’t have prevented the tragedy. The DOJ said the federal government had no way of knowing Kelley’s future intentions. On the other hand, the brief states the US “sympathizes” with the victims.
The WSJ stated the government has been trying to change the court’s ruling, offering to pay a lower sum of $31.8 million to settle the matter. Mediation, however, evidently didn’t come to a successful conclusion. Still, department spokeswoman Dena Iverson said the government’s door will stay open for settlement resolutions.
One of the lawyers representing the grieving families stated they had already tried to settle the matter for a lesser sum, but their offers were rebuffed.
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