SAN ANTONIO (KXAN) — The U.S. Department of Justice has filed an appeal looking to overturn a federal ruling that found the Air Force was responsible for the Sutherland Springs church mass shooting in 2017.
Last year, a federal judge ruled the government was 60% responsible for the shooting after the gunman previously threatened mass violence while in the Air Force. The shooting left 26 people dead and injured 22 others.
U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez ordered the federal government to pay nearly $230 million to the victims and family members involved in the shooting.
The judge’s ruling aligned with the victims and families who believed the deadly shooting could have been prevented if the military branch had properly reported those threats, using the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
The AP reported the shooter should not have been able to buy a rifle because of a 2012 domestic assault conviction. The Air Force didn’t submit the conviction to NICS, allowing the shooter the ability to purchase the gun.
In his opinion, the federal judge wrote, “In undertaking to create and manage a national background check system, the government assumed a duty under the common law to operate the NICS with reasonable care.”