Texas church shooting: US Air Force ordered to pay $230mn over 2017

Washington: A judge has ordered the US Air Force to pay more than 230 million in damages to survivors and victims’ families of a 2017 Texas church shooting.

In an ongoing civil lawsuit, US District Judge Xavier Rodriguez on Monday ruled that the federal government failed to flag a conviction that might have kept the gunman from legally buying the weapon used in the shooting, reports Xinhua news agency.

On November 5, 2017, 26 people were killed and 22 others injured when Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire during a Sunday service at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.

Kelley died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound afterwards.

Rodriguez had ruled in July 2021 that the Air Force was “60 per cent liable” for the tragedy since Kelley had threatened mass violence while in the Air Force before the attack, aligning with the victims and families who believe the massacre could have been prevented if the Air Force had submitted Kelley’s assault conviction to a national database.

The family members and victims requested around $418 million and the federal government was originally only willing to pay roughly $31.8 million.

The federal government has 10 days to file objections to the case, reported local media.

There are approximately 80 claimants.

Payments to each victim or family member are laid out by the judge based on relation, physical harm, mental harm and future expenses and mental anguish.

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