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Memorial crosses for the victims of the Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Nov. 11, 2017. Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the U.S. Air Force holds most of the responsibility for the 2017 mass shooting in a Texas church, according to court documents.

The big picture: The decision from U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez in San Antonio states that the Air Force holds 60% of the responsibility for the shooting because it failed to enter the shooter's criminal history into a federal background check database used for gun purchases.

Catch up fast: Devin Kelley, the 26-year-old gunman, was convicted in 2012 for domestic violence against his wife and infant son. He was sentenced to a year in jail, which should have prevented him from purchasing the gun.

  • Kelley opened fire during a Sunday service at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs in 2017. He killed 26 people before dying of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
  • Last month, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that survivors and families of victims can't sue the gun retailer that sold the weapon.

What they're saying: “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,” Rodriguez wrote, per WSJ.

  • “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,” he added.

Go deeper

Oct 2, 2021 - Health

Mormon president thanks members who adhere to COVID guidelines

Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints urged members at a conference on Saturday to take precautions when it comes to COVID-19 and thanked those who have followed church guidance, which includes getting vaccinated, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: The Mormon Church, one of the largest Christian denominations in the U.S., has faced internal division among its 16 million members worldwide over pandemic guidelines.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.