US Air Force to pay more than $230 million over gun shooting
The gunman had a criminal record the US Air Force failed to report.
A US federal judge ordered Monday the Air Force to pay more than $230 million in damages to survivors and relatives of victims of a 2017 Texas shooting for failing to report the perpetrator's criminal record.
26 people were killed and 22 more wounded when Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, in November 2017.
Kelley, a convicted felon, had a history of domestic abuse and mental health problems.
The attack, after which Kelley was found dead having shot himself, was the worst mass shooting in Texas history.
"The Court concluded that the Government failed to exercise reasonable care in its undertaking to submit Kelley's criminal history to the FBI and that the Government was 60 percent responsible for the Plaintiffs' injuries," the ruling read.
US government slacking
Families of the victims and survivors had sued the US government claiming it could have prevented the gunman from legally acquiring firearms.
The plaintiff named in the ruling was Joe Holcombe, who, along with his wife, Claryce, lost nine members of their family in the attack, including children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Kelley had legally purchased weapons even though convicted felons are usually not allowed to own guns, as licensed sellers are supposed to check national databases before completing a purchase.
But the gunman was able to slip through the background check system because the US Air Force had not reported his two domestic violence convictions from five years earlier.
In response, Air Force Spokesperson Ann Stefanek said the security branch is planning to appeal the ruling, the New York Times reported.
Gun laws in Texas are among the most non-restrictive in the United States.