HOUSTON: The gunman who killed 26 people at a church in Texas could buy weapons because the US Air Force did not submit his criminal history to the FBI as required by military rules, authorities have said.
The gunman, identified as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, wearing black tactical-style gear walked into the church and started firing from an assault rifle just after the Sunday morning service began at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.
Kelley was previously a member of the US Air Force and served at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his discharge. He was court-martialled in 2012 for assault on his spouse and their child.
An Air Force officer failed to enter Kelley's domestic violence court-martial into a national database that would have barred him from buying weapons, NBC News said.
Top Air Force brass ordered a full review of how the service handled Kelley's conviction at a general court-martial in 2012, Ann Stefanek, a spokeswoman for the Air Force, said in a statement.
Kelley's name should have been entered in the National Criminal Information Center, Stefanek said, but the Special Investigations Office at Holloman failed to transmit the domestic violence charges.
That would have alerted whoever sold Kelley his weapons that he was ineligible to own firearms under the 1996 Lautenberg Amendment, which bars anyone convicted of domestic violence Â— even misdemeanors Â— from getting access to guns.
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Gen. David Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff, have ordered a "complete review of the Kelley case" by the service's inspector general, Stefanek said.
The Air Force will also review its databases to make sure that records in other cases have been reported correctly Â— and it has asked the Pentagon to review records and procedures across the Defence Department, she said.
Evidence show that Kelley died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and multiple weapons were found in the vehicle.