Following the mass shooting that killed dozens at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, authorities have learned a lot about suspected shooter Devin Patrick Kelley and his past. Kelley, like many other mass shooters, had a history of domestic violence, which led to a court martial and his bad conduct discharge from the Air Force after a conviction. To make matters worse, after a clerical error, the Air Force didn’t enter Kelley’s information into a federal database, which meant that he wouldn’t have been flagged when purchasing a firearm. Now, the Pentagon is investigating just how that clerical error happened.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced Tuesday that the department’s watchdog was looking into the circumstances of the Air Force’s failure to report Kelley’s conviction to the FBI’s National Criminal Information Center database. The DoD needs “find out what’s going on,” Mattis said.
In a development that isn’t going to please Mattis and makes the Air Force look even worse, outlets are also reporting that Kelley allegedly escaped from a behavioral health center in New Mexico after being referred there by the Air Force due to his threats against Air Force officers and attempts to sneak weapons onto a base.
In February, President Trump signed a bill removing certain people with mental health issues from the national background check database. While this has no bearing on the present case, it doesn’t bode well for the future.