The US Air Force says its failure to report the Texas shooter’s criminal record had allowed him to legally buy guns and commit one of the deadliest mass shootings in US history.
Devin Patrick Kelley, a former US airman, was court-martialled for domestic violence while still on active duty in 2012 and was consequently barred from owning or buying firearms.
However, the USAF’s failure to enter his history into the national database allowed the disgraced serviceman to freely purchase a rifle last year and then use it in Sunday’s attack on a small church outside San Antonio, Texas, killing 26 people.
“Initial information indicates that [Devin] Kelley’s domestic violence offense was not entered into the National Criminal Information Center database by the Holloman Air Force Base Office of Special Investigations,” the USAF said in a statement.
Heather Wilson, the Air Force secretary, and General David Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff, had ordered the Air Force inspector general to “conduct a complete review of the Kelley case,” the statement read.
Law enforcement officials said Kelley’s rage towards his wife and her family might have been the real motives behind the attack.
Apparently, Kelley had chosen the First Baptist Church as his target because his most recent wife’s mother was a member there. She was not there at the time of the attack.
“This was not racially motivated. It wasn’t over religious beliefs. It was a domestic situation going on,” Freeman Martin, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said.
In addition to his court-martial, Kelley had also been investigated on a rape complaint, but no charges were filed against him.
The deadly mass shooting and President Donald Trump’s refusal to blame it on lack of gun control has once again sparked gun regulation debates in the US.
“I think that mental health is your problem here,” Trump, who is on a 12-day Asian tour, told reporters in Japan. “This was a very, based on preliminary reports, very deranged individual.”
That is not what former President Barack Obama thinks. Expressing solidarity with the victims’ families, Obama called for “concrete steps” to reduce the violence.