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Air Force: Failure to Report Texas Shooter's Conviction 'Not Isolated Incident'


Law enforcement officials investigate the scene of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Nov. 6, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

The Air Force’s failure to report the Texas shooter’s domestic abuse offenses to civilian law enforcement was not an isolated incident, the military branch said Tuesday.

Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said Tuesday preliminary findings from a review after this month’s deadly shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, by a disgraced former airman showed similar reporting lapses occurred at other Air Force bases.

The Air Force did not report the airman’s 2012 domestic violence conviction into the FBI's database, as required by federal law and the Pentagon. Authorities say that measure, had it been properly entered, should have stopped the shooter from legally buying the rifle he used in the massacre.

Rachel Vasquez places flowers in a fence for the victims of the shooting outside of the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church following a service held at a temporary site, Nov. 12, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Rachel Vasquez places flowers in a fence for the victims of the shooting outside of the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church following a service held at a temporary site, Nov. 12, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

“Although policies and procedures requiring reporting were in place, training and compliance measures were lacking,” Stefanek said.

The Air Force said it has implemented corrective measures to “prevent future occurrences,” and will implement additional actions in the next few weeks.

Among the new procedures is a leadership requirement to verify that information from applicable cases is registered with the FBI's National Crime Information Center's Interstate Identification Index.

FILE - An FBI agent investigates the site of the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, Nov. 7, 2017.
FILE - An FBI agent investigates the site of the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, Nov. 7, 2017.

The Air Force added that officials are correcting all identified failures to report to civilian law enforcement as they are discovered.

The disgraced former airman, Devin Kelley, murdered 26 people at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs on Sunday. He shot himself in the head after being wounded by a neighbor and chased by the neighbor and police.

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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.

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