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DOJ Settles Sutherland Springs Shooting Case For $144M

The Justice Department tentatively settled a lawsuit over the 2017 mass shooting at a Texas church that will pay victims and their families more than $144 million. More than two dozen people were killed when Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire during a Sunday service at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. Kelley, who died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound after he was shot by two men who heard the gunfire at the church, had served in the Air Force. Authorities put the official death toll at 26 because one of the 25 people killed was pregnant.


U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez had ruled that the Air Force was “60% liable” for the attack because it failed to submit Kelley’s assault conviction during his time in the Air Force to a national database. DOJ Department said the settlement is still subject to court approvals. “No words or amount of money can diminish the immense tragedy of the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta “Today’s announcement brings the litigation to a close, ending a painful chapter for the victims of this unthinkable crime.” The Air Force has acknowledged that the felony conviction for domestic violence, had it been put into the FBI database, could have prevented Kelley from buying guns from licensed firearms dealers, and also from possessing body armor. Rodriguez said in 2021 that had the government done its job and entered Kelley’s history into the database, “it is more likely than not that Kelley would have been deterred from carrying out the Church shooting.”

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