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ICYMI: Sutherland Springs Families File Suit Against Gun Dealer Who Sold AR-15 to Shooter

AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File

Survivors and families in Sutherland Springs on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against Academy Sports + Outdoors for illegally selling the gunman an AR-15, which was used to kill 27 and injure 20 more. The lawsuit is brought about by 56 individuals who were shot or are family members of the 27 churchgoers killed during the mass shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in 2017.


"Academy violated existing firearms laws when one of its San Antonio stores illegally sold the mass shooter the High Capacity Ruger AR-556 semi-automatic rifle that was used in the shooting," the lawsuit reads.

The plaintiffs argue that because the gunman lived in Colorado at the time, and the state adopted a ban on "high capacity assault rifles," Academy Sports should have denied the sale. 

"At the time the mass shooter illegally purchased the High Capacity Ruger AR-556 model 8500 at Academy in Texas, he reported a Colorado Springs, Colorado address on his Firearms Transaction Record, Form 4473. He presented Defendant Academy with a state-issued ID that reflected a matching state residence. This fact alone legally disqualified the mass shooter from purchasing the Ruger AR-556 model 8500 firearm," the lawsuit says.

The shooter, Devin Patrick Kelly, had been a member of the United States Air Force. Back in 2012, he was court-martialed for two counts of Article 128 UCMJ, assault on his then wife and assault on her child. He was eventually dismissed with a bad misconduct charge, making him a prohibited possessor, KSAT-TV previously reported.


The Air Force failed to report the conviction to the FBI's National Crime Information Center, which puts convictions into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

Kelly also lied to the Texas Department of Public Safety while applying to become a private security guard. He said he had not been discharged from the military. He also answered "no" to all questions about whether he had been convicted of a Class B misdemeanor or greater offenses.

According to The Hill, each family is asking for $1 million in damages from the gun dealer.

Here is the full lawsuit:

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