U.S. District Court Finds U.S. Government Liable for Negligently Allowing Sutherland Springs Gunman to Purchase Firearms

SAN ANTONIO, July 7, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Texas ruled in favor…

SAN ANTONIO, July 7, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Texas ruled in favor of survivors and families of victims involved in the Sutherland Springs church shooting in a trial against the United States Government. Judge Xavier Rodriguez found the U.S. Air Force liable for failing to provide the shooter’s domestic violence convictions to the FBI which would have blocked the gunman from buying the rifle that he used to kill 26 and injure 22 people. The Court found that the Government was 60% responsible for the shooting and Devin Kelley was 40% responsible.

The Court ruled: «The trial conclusively established that no other individual—not even Kelley’s own parents or partners—knew as much as the United States about the violence that Devin Kelley had threatened to commit and was capable of committing. Moreover, the evidence shows that—had the Government done its job and properly reported Kelley’s information into the background check system—it is more likely than not that Kelley would have been deterred from carrying out the Church shooting. For these reasons, the Government bears significant responsibility for the Plaintiffs’ harm.»

«All the families impacted by the Sutherland Springs shooting have been exceptionally courageous.  We are honored to have fought this battle on their behalf.«

—Robert E. Ammons

«No one can give these families peace or ever truly understand what they lost that day.  But we are honored to represent our clients in this historic verdict that gives a voice to so many who were silenced because the Government failed to follow the law.»

—April A. Strahan

The case will proceed to a second trial phase to determine damages in the coming months. Despite Kelley’s history of making violent threats against his superiors while in the military and threatening mass shootings while in the Air Force, the Government claimed the Air Force could not have foreseen Kelley’s violent conduct. The Government made this claim even though the trial proved that the Air Force took measures to protect themselves from Kelley’s threats, such as confiscating his weapons and barring him from entering all Air Force Bases nationwide.

The Ammons Law Firm has posted on their website the following documents from the trial:

  • Court’s Ruling
  • Trial Transcript
  • Video of Air Force Employees admitting that the shooting was foreseeable
  • Air Force File Documenting Kelley as an extreme danger (Joint Exhibit 403)
  • Air Force Task Force Report on Kelley (Joint Exhibit 27)

These documents can be found at the following URL:

U.S. District Court Finds U.S. Government Liable for Negligently Allowing Sutherland Springs Gunman to Purchase Firearms (ammonslaw.com)

The plaintiffs are represented by Robert Ammons and April Strahan of The Ammons Law Firm, Jamal Alsaffar and Tom Jacob of Whitehurst, Harkness, Brees, Cheng, Alsaffar, Higginbotham & Jacob PLLC, Daniel Barks of Speiser Krause PC, Jason Steed of Kilpatrick Townsend Stockton LLP, Mark Collmer of Collmer Law Group, Justin Demerath of O’Hanlon, Demerath & Castillo, Bob Hilliard & Marion Reilly of Hilliard Munoz Gonzales LLP, Hugh Plummer of the Law Offices of Thomas J. Henry, Dennis Peery and R. Craig Bettis of Tyler & Peery, Kelly W. Kelly of Anderson & Associates Law Firm, Brett Reynolds of Brett Reynolds & Associates PC, Frank Herrera Jr. and Jorge A. Herrera of The Herrera Law Firm, Jason Webster of The Webster Law Firm, Erik Knockaert & Joe Schreiber of Schreiber Knockaert PLLC, Tim Maloney and Paul Campolo of Maloney & Campolo LLP, Daniel Sciano of Tinsman & Sciano, George LeGrand and Stanley Bernstein of LeGrand and Bernstein, and Craig W. Carlson and Phillip J. Koelsch of The Carlson Law Firm P.C.

The Ammons Law Firm has a nationwide personal injury practice focusing on tire defects, truck accidents, rollovers, consumer protection and product liability, catastrophic injury, wrongful death, post-collision fires, seatbelt defects, airbag defects, plant explosions and policyholder litigation against insurance companies.

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SOURCE The Ammons Law Firm LLP