The Air Force reportedly said Monday that one of its divisions didn’t alert federal authorities to Sutherland Springs church shooter Devin Patrick Kelley’s 2012 domestic violence conviction — which could have prevented him from purchasing the firearm he used to massacre 26 on Sunday night.
The revelation was a moment of clarity amid conflicting information concerning how, and if, Kelley was legally allowed to purchase firearms. Police said he had two on him at the church and two more in his car.
Kelley served in the Air Force from 2010 to 2014. He was convicted by Military Judge J. Wesley Moore at a court-martial at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, and was sentenced to a bad-conduct discharge a year of confinement in a military prison, and was reduced to the lowest rank in the Air Force, according to Ann Stefanek, a Air Force spokesperson.
Retired Col. Don Christensen, who was chief prosecutor of the Air Force when Kelley was court-marshaled, told NPR that Kelley was convicted of domestic assault and pleaded to “intentionally inflicting grievous bodily harm” on his wife and child.
Christensen added that the domestic assault conviction, in which Kelley also fractured his baby step-son’s skull, according to Christensen, should have banned Kelley from purchasing a firearm, and federal law clearly states, “It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing” that the individual “has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.”
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