Arizona lawmakers seek answers in Texas suspect’s criminal history lapse
PHOENIX — Two Arizona lawmakers are urging Congress to investigate how the Air Force failed to report the criminal history of the Texas church shooting suspect to the FBI.
U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) want to know why federal law enforcement was not told that Devin Patrick Kelley had an extensive criminal record before he walked into a Texas church on Sunday and shot at least 26 people dead.
In a statement, McCain said the Senate Armed Services Committee — which he heads — will “conduct rigorous oversight of the department’s investigation into the circumstances that led to this failure.
“It’s critical that each of the military services take the steps necessary to ensure that similar mistakes have not occurred and will not occur in the future,” the statement read.
Gallego, who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, also said in a tweet on Monday that he “wants answers.”
Kelley killed at least 26 people — including children — and injured about 20 more at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. He was later found dead in his vehicle from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The Air Force admitted on Monday that it failed to inform the FBI of his criminal history, which would have made it more difficult for him to obtain a weapon.
Kelley was found guilty of assault in an Air Force court-martial in 2012 for abusing his wife and her child and was given 12 months’ confinement and a bad-conduct discharge in 2014.
That same year, authorities said, he bought the first of four weapons.
U.S. Sen Jeff Flake said he was working on a bill that would prevent domestic abusers from getting their hands on a weapon.
Under Pentagon rules, information about convictions of military personnel for crimes like assault should be submitted to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Investigation Services Division.
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