Sutherland Springs Family Files Wrongful Death Claim Against Air Force


The Air Force said Tuesday that in addition to failing to alert the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the criminal history of the former airman who massacred 26 people at a Texas church on November 5, it has discovered "several dozen" other such reporting omissions.

The Air Force Inspector General found that security personnel at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, where Kelly was serving at the time of the domestic violence attack, did not report information about the case to civilian law enforcement.

An Air Force statement released today said that following a review of 60,000 serious cases as far back as 2002 it has determined that Kelley's case was "not an isolated incident".

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Kelley was convicted of the domestic violence charge in 2012, and that should have prevented him from owning, possessing or purchasing the weapons used in the attack, but the Air Force admitted shortly after the massacre that the conviction had not been reported to the proper authorities.

An investigation into the USA air force's failure to report criminal records to the nation's gun background check system has already found "several dozen" records that should have been submitted and were not.

According to the claim for damage, injury, or death, filed by claimants Joe and Claryce Holcombe, their son's death was a result, in whole or part, of "the institutional failures of the United States Department of Defense, including, but not limited to the United States Air Force". "The Air Force IG is closely monitoring all corrective actions and the ongoing review of records to assess progress and report to Air Force leadership".

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Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has previously acknowledged that Kelley's criminal history should have been reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation but was not. He left the Air Force in 2014. "Every claim that is filed is thoroughly processed and researched in accordance with established law and regulations", said Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokeswoman.

The Air Force has six months to accept or deny the claim, which was filed by the parents of Bryan Holcombe, 60, an associate pastor who was to have led the service at the church. "We will communicate progress directly with the claimant, or their representative, as appropriate".

Additional training on these procedures is being conducted now. "That qualifies them as felonies, which must be entered into the database".

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The Air Force is not alone is recognizing such reporting failures. "This is a problem across all the services where we have gaps in reporting criminal activity of people in service".