The US air force missed six opportunities to report information that could have stopped one of its former servicemen who killed 24 people in a Texas church shooting, according to a US government report.
Devin Patrick Kelley had a decade-long history of violence, interest in guns and menacing of women, according to the department of defence inspector general’s report.
After serving almost five years in the air force he was court-martialled and sentenced to one year’s confinement for assaulting his wife and stepson.
But he was nonetheless able to purchase four firearms after being discharged in 2014, three of which he used to launch his attack on the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs the report stated.
The church was attended by his wife and mother-in-law but neither was present at the time of the massacre.
The air force was blamed immediately after the shooting for not reporting the domestic abuse to FBI investigators.
Had he been a civilian, Kelley’s conviction would have been a red flag in the mandatory background check when Kelley tried to purchase a gun and he would have been refused.
The defence inspector general’s report says that air force investigators who spoke to Kelley failed four separate times to fingerprint him and turn those prints over to the FBI. air force investigators were not trained to submit fingerprints or the final report to the FBI, it adds.
Twice it failed to submit its final report of the case to the FBI, the report says.
The air force squadron that investigated the assault “used on-the-job training as its primary method of instruction for fingerprint collection and submission,” the report says.
“However, this training was insufficient and was not based on any established curriculum or policy requirements.”
The air force said in a statement that “corrective action has already been taken.”
It said it has reviewed all case files since 1998, and “all criminal history reporting requirements that would preclude someone from purchasing a firearm have been updated.”
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