Another Sutherland Springs family files civil claim against Air Force
A fourth Sutherland Springs family is pursuing a wrongful-death claim against the Air Force for failing to tell the FBI about the criminal history of Devin Patrick Kelley, the former airman who killed 26 people last month in the worst mass shooting in modern Texas history.
In a precursor to a possible lawsuit against the Air Force, the Ward family filed the most recent complaint, WOAI-TV reported. Kelley had killed Joann Ward and her daughters, Brooke and Emily, in the Nov. 5 massacre at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.
Ward’s stepson, 5-year-old Ryland Ward, survived and is still recovering in a hospital.
After the shooting, the Air Force admitted it never reported Kelley’s criminal record to the FBI. Kelley was able to pass criminal background checks when he bought at least four firearms from licensed dealers.
Kelley’s main weapon in the church rampage, a Ruger AR-556 semiautomatic, military-style rifle, was purchased at a San Antonio Academy Sports & Outdoors store.
The Air Force had filed assault charges against Kelley in 2012 when he was serving in the military and was accused of assaulting his wife and baby stepson. Kelley was convicted, served a 12-month sentence and was issued a bad conduct discharge in 2014.
In addition to the Wards, at least three other families of Sutherland Springs victims have filed similar legal claims against the Air Force: The Holcombes, the Ramseys and the son of Lula White, the grandmother of Kelley’s wife.