Academy Sports + Outdoors implicated in Sutherland Springs shooting by U.S. government filing


Emergency personnel respond to a fatal shooting at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. (KSAT via AP)

SAN ANTONIO (KXAN) — Academy Sports + Outdoors has been implicated as a responsible party in the Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church Shooting, according to an Oct. 15 filing by the United States government.

According to the lawsuit, Academy sold Devin Patrick Kelley the weapon he reportedly used to carry out the Sutherland Springs mass shooting last year — a high-capacity Model 8500 Ruger AR-556 semi-automatic AR-15 style rifle. The weapon allegedly included a large-capacity 30 round magazine.

When customers present their driver’s license to purchase a firearm, Academy is supposed to follow the Federal Gun Control Act and comply with the laws of the state that issued the license and the laws of the state where the sale is being made.

Colorado law restricts the sale of high-capacity magazines, or magazines that can hold more than 15 rounds.

The filing says that Academy was not permitted to sell Kelley the firearm because the sale of the Model 8500 Ruger AR-556 would have been illegal in the state of Colorado.

Kelley was in the United States Air Force from 2010 through 2012, where he was court-martialed for two counts of assault — one count on his spouse, and one count on his child. He received a bad conduct discharge and spent 12 months in confinement.

However, the Air Force reportedly failed to report his criminal history to the FBI — a key factor that attorneys defending the United States emphasized in their suit.

“It is an established fact by the U.S. Inspector General that if the United States Air Force followed the law and reported the convicted felon to the appropriate database, he would not have been able to acquire the firearm he used in the shooting and many lives would have been saved,” said Jamal Alsaffar, an attorney representing the United States.

Victims and family members of the Sutherland Springs shooting have also sued Academy for their illegal sale of high-capacity firearms to residents of states that do not allow them. They have also sued the Air Force for their failure to report Kelley into the FBI’s National Instant Background Check System (NICS).

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