Air Force failed to submit Texas shooter's criminal history

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Air Force failed to report the accused Texas church shooter's domestic violence conviction to the FBI as required by Pentagon rules, officials said Monday.

The lapse prompted the Pentagon to announce a review of whether the problem has gone undetected in other cases across the military.

Devin Patrick Kelley was convicted of assault against his wife and stepson in an Air Force court-martial in New Mexico in 2012 and served 12 months in confinement before being given a bad-conduct discharge in 2014.

He is the suspected gunman in the attack Sunday in Sutherland Springs, Texas, in which 26 people were killed.

An Air Force record of the Kelley court-martial says he pleaded guilty to multiple specifications of assault, including striking his wife, choking her with his hands and kicking her. He also was convicted of striking his stepson on the head and body "with a force likely to produce death or grievous bodily harm."

Under Pentagon rules, information about convictions of military personnel in crimes like assault is supposed to be submitted to the FBI's Criminal Justice Investigation Services Division for inclusion in the National Criminal Information Center database.

For unspecified reasons, the Air Force did not provide the information about Kelley as required.

Acknowledging its mistake, the Air Force said in a written statement that the top two Air Force officials - Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein - have ordered a review of the Kelley case by the Air Force Office of the Inspector General.

"The service will also conduct a comprehensive review of Air Force databases to ensure records in other cases have been reported correctly," Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said.

Later Monday, the Pentagon issued a written statement saying it had asked its inspector general to work with the Air Force to review the handling of criminal records in the Kelley case. It also said the inspector general will "review relevant policies and procedures to ensure records from other cases" throughout the Defense Department have been correctly reported to the FBI.

Meantime President Donald Trump says tougher gun laws would not have prevented the shooting, arguing that more restrictions might have led to more casualties.

Trump spoke at a news conference in South Korea Tuesday where he was asked about "extreme vetting" for gun purchases. Trump said: "If you did what you're suggesting, there would have been no difference three days ago and you might not have had that very brave person who happens to have a gun or a rifle in his trunk."

As he did following last month's Las Vegas massacre of 58 people, Trump pushed back against the question, calling it a "situation that probably shouldn't be discussed too much" and noted that he was "in the heart of South Korea."

Trump added that if the Good Samaritan didn't have a gun, "instead of having 26 dead, you would have had hundreds more dead."

Trump's more muted response to gun violence contrasts with his swift call for legislative and military action following the Oct. 31 truck attack in New York City. Within hours of a rental truck ramming through a crowded bicycle path and into a school bus, Trump called for Congress to "immediately" repeal the diversity visa lottery program that suspect Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbekistan citizen, used to enter the country in 2010.

After the Las Vegas shooting, Trump and aides said it was inappropriate to consider a policy response while people were still grieving. Despite days later suggesting openness to outlawing the bump stock device that allowed Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock to fire at near-automatic rates, the Trump administration has shown no signs of urgency.

Trump, who supported gun control before reversing his position to enter the Republican presidential primary, courted the National Rifle Association's endorsement in 2016. Earlier this year he became the first president in three decades to speak at the gun group's annual convention.

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Associated Press writer Catherine Lucey in Washington contributed to this report.

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