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US Air Force missed four chances to stop Texas shooter buying guns

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The U.S. Air Force missed four chances to block the shooter in 2017’s deadly church attack in Texas from buying guns after he was accused of violent crimes while in the military, a report by the Department of Defense’s inspector general said on Friday.

Because the Air Force failed to submit Devin Kelley’s fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the former airman was able to clear background checks to buy the guns he used to kill 26 people at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.

A Reuters investigation last year found that the Air Force missed multiple chances to submit Kelly’s fingerprints into the FBI’s criminal databases after the November 2017 attack.

Kelley, who was 26, was shot by a bystander as he fled and was found dead soon after, having shot himself in the head.

According to the inspector general’s report, the first missed chance came in June 2011, after the Air Force Office of Special Investigations began investigating a report of Kelley beating his stepson while Kelley served at a base in New Mexico.

The second chance came in February 2012, after the Air Force learned of allegations that Kelley was also beating his wife, the report said.

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The third was in June 2012, when Kelley confessed on video to injuring his stepson, the report said.

The fourth was after Kelley’s court-martial conviction for the assaults in November 2013.

“If Kelley’s fingerprints were submitted to the FBI, he would have been prohibited from purchasing a firearm from a licensed firearms dealer,” the inspector general’s report said.

Each missed instance was a breach of Department of Defense policy, the report said. Multiple Air Force officials involved in Kelley’s case did not understand these policies or were unable to explain why they were not followed in interviews with the inspector general’s office.

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The inspector general recommended that the Air Force improve its training of staff on submitting fingerprints and examine whether officials involved in Kelley’s case should face discipline.

Previous inspector general reports have found widespread lapses in the military’s reporting of criminal histories to the FBI going back years.

The Air Force agreed with the inspector general’s findings and said they matched the conclusions of its own investigation last year, a spokeswoman said. The Air Force said it has been correcting other instances where it failed to submit fingerprints to the FBI going back to 1998.

Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by David Gregorio

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Retired admiral could pose serious threat if he decides to run against Iowa Republican: report

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On Wednesday, Iowa Starting Line reported that Ret. Adm. Michael Franken is in talks with state and national Democrats about challenging GOP Sen. Joni Ernst.

Franken, who has served as Deputy for Military Operations for AFRICOM, Director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, and Chief of Legislative Affairs for the Department of the Navy, hails from Sioux Center, a town in the deeply conservative northwest part of the state.

Ernst, who first gained national attention for her 2014 campaign ad about castrating hogs, is a reliable vote for President Donald Trump in the Senate, and the president's poor approval ratings in Iowa have left Democrats hopeful that they can defeat her.

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‘This American dream’: Pain overwhelms family of drowned migrants

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"They had this American dream," sobbed Rosa Ramirez after images of her drowned son and granddaughter, discovered face-down on the banks of the Rio Grande between Mexico and the United States, shocked the world on Wednesday.

The poignant pictures of Oscar Alberto Martinez and his toddler daughter Valeria -- not yet two years old -- has sparked outrage back home in El Salvador, where around 200 migrants like them leave for the United States daily, preparing to take similar risks.

"The pain has been immense. I still can't believe that my boy and my little granddaughter are dead, they only wanted to get to the United States.... they had this American dream -- to achieve a better life," Oscar's mother told AFP.

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Venezuela government says thwarted attempted ‘coup’

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Venezuela's socialist government said Wednesday it had derailed an attempted coup, claiming the United States, Colombia and Chile colluded in a military plot to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro and install a general and former defense minister in his place.

Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the plan involved active and retired army officers and was to have been executed between Sunday and Monday this past weekend.

"We were in all the meetings to plan the coup d'Etat. We were in all the conferences," Rodriguez said, suggesting that government informers had infiltrated the alleged plotters during planning meetings.

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