Federal Judge: Government Can be Sued in Sutherland Springs Shooting

A federal judge in San Antonio has given the green light to the families of the 26 people who were murdered in the November 2017 massacre at Sutherland Springs Baptist Church to file a negligence lawsuit against the federal government, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The families allege that the gunman was able to obtain the weapon he used to carry out the massacre, only because the Department of the Air Force was negligent in failing to enter his name into the data base of people inelligible to buy firearms after he was convicted of domestic violence while in the military. The Air Force has admitted that it failed to act according to the law.

The gunman, who was given a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force after a series of violent incidents directed toward his wife and their son, purchases a Ruger AR-556 from an outdoor store in San Antonio after passing two background checks.

But U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez ruled the only reason the gunman was able to purchse the weapon was due to the goverment's negligence.

"If they can prove that this negligence was proximately caused by negligent supervision or training, the Government would be liable," Rodriguez wrote in his ruling.

The shooting prompted a measure approved by Congress that will make certain that the names of people who are convicted of disqualifying offenses while in the military to be entered the data base.

Earlier this year, a state district judge in San Antoio ruled that the relatives can sue the seller of the gun, Academy Sports and Outdoors. The chain claims its employees did the required background checks and did not find any indictation that the buyer was prohibited from purchasing firearms.

It is 1200 WOAI news policy not to use the name of mass shooters in our news coverage.

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