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Tag: air force

Air Force Admits Missing Chances to Prevent Church Shooter from Buying Guns

airforceBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Air Force took responsibility for not alerting the FBI to the Texas church shooter’s domestic violence-related convictions, a failure that allowed former Airman Devin Kelley to purchase guns.

Had the Air Force reported the incidents to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, or NCIC, he would have been barred from buying a firearm.

“The offenses for which the shooter in Texas was court-martialed should have been reported, and that’s why we launched a full-scale review of this case, and all others like it,” Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson told reporters on Thursday, ABC News reports.

The failure has prompted several investigations. In addition to the Air Force’s internal probe, the Department of Defense Inspector General is investigating all military branches to see if there is a pattern of failing to report violent crimes to NCIC.

“We are looking at all of our databases, and if we have problems that we find, we’ll fix them,” Wilson said. “Our approach here is to act in accordance with our values, which include integrity and excellence, and that’s the way we’re proceeding.”

In 2012, Kelley was court-martialed while serving in the Air Force for assaulting his wife and child. He served a year in confinement and received a bad conduct discharge.

That information was never passed on.

Military Often Fails to Report Domestic Violence to FBI to Bar Gun Purchases

airforceBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The military’s failure to notify the FBI about Devin Kelley’s history of violence and mental illness, which enabled him to buy guns used to kill 26 people at a Texas church, is a familiar pattern.

Military service branches and the Pentagon reported just a handful of “adjudicated mental health” reports and one felony to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, according to an FBI report from December 2016, MySanAntonio.com reports

In 2016, the Department of Defense did not flag a single soldier, sailor, airmen or Marine because of domestic violence restraining orders.

The FBI and ATF said Kelley would have been prevented from buying a gun had the Air Force reported that he assaulted his wife and son, threatened to kill his superiors and escaped from a mental hospital.

Several investigations are underway to determine why Kelley’s name was not added to the NICS.

Air Force Error Allowed Texas Mass Shooter with Violent History to Buy Firearms

Church shooter Devin Kelley

Church shooter Devin Kelley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Texas church gunman who killed 26 people and wounded 20 more worshipers at a Texas church on Sunday should never have been able to buy the guns he used in the massacre.

But the Air Force failed to notify the FBI that Devin Kelley was sentenced to a year of confinement after a court martial found him guilty on two charges of domestic assault. According to numerous reports, Kelley brutally assaulted his wife, threatened her multiple times with loaded and unloaded guns and cracked his stepson’s skull. 

The Air Force failed to enter the domestic violence conviction into the National Criminal Investigation Center database, which would have prohibited him from buying a gun legally.

That omission allowed Kelley to pass background checks to buy four guns, some of which were used in the mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.

Several investigation are underway to determine why the Air Force never flagged Kelley.

Authorities also revealed Monday that Kelley was involved in a dispute with his mother-in-law, who attended the church in the past but was not there Sunday.

“He expressed anger towards his mother-in-law,”  Freeman Martin, a spokesman for the Texas department of public safety, said at a press conference on Monday. “This was not racially motivated, it wasn’t over religious beliefs.”

Investigators Search for Motive in Mass Shooting at Texas Church

Church shooter Devin Kelley

Church shooter Devin Kelley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Investigators are trying to determine what motivated a 26-year-old former Air Force member to dress in black commando gear and a tactical vest and open fire at the First Baptist Church in a small Texas town, killing 26 people Sunday.

Among those killed were eight family members.

The gunman fled in his car after a local man began shooting at him, causing the suspect to run off the roadway, where authorities believe he took his own life or was shot in an exchange of gunfire with the armed resident, the Washington Post reports

“There was some gunfire exchanged, I believe, on the roadway also, and then [the gunman’s vehicle] wrecked out,” Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt told CBS News. “At this time we believe that he had a self-inflicted gunshot wound, after he wrecked out.”

Few details were immediately known about the shooter, identified as Devin Kelley, who was released from the Air Force with a bad-conduct discharge in 2014. At one point, Kelley had seven as a logistical readiness airman stationed at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, according to Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek.

Supreme Court Declines to Consider Case Involving Random Detention of Motorists Near U.S. Borders

US_Supreme_CourtBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Supreme Court on Monday announced it would not consider a case involving limits on random detention of motorists within 100 miles of a border.

The case involves an Air Force officer, Richard Rynearson, who was detained for 34 minutes at a Border Patrol checkpoint in Uvalde County, Texas, despite authorities having no suspicion that he was an undocumented immigrant or criminal, Reason.com reports. 

In a 1976 decision in the United States v. Martinez Fuerte, the Supreme Court concluded random stops at immigration checkpoints did not violate the Fourth Amendment.

The justices reasoned that each stop “involves only a brief detention of travelers” during which “all that is required of the vehicle’s occupants is a response to a brief question or two and possibly the production of a document evidencing a right to be in the United States.”

The court had said “the average length of an investigation in the secondary inspection area is three to five minutes.”

Column: Santa’s Helper, a Giant Elf, a Cuban Inmate Uprising and the Salvation Army

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office.
 
A note from Greg Stejskal: “Despite not having sold the screen rights & in an effort to make this story a Holiday classic, we’re running this story again. Happy Holidays!”

Greg Stejskal

 
By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

This is a Christmas story, but it really began just before Thanksgiving in 1987, at the Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta.

The Cuban inmates had rioted and had taken control of a sizeable portion of the penitentiary. The catalyst for the riots happened years before that in 1980.

The Mariel boatlift, a massive exodus of Cuban refugees from Cuba to the US, had among its refugees, convicted criminals. Fidel Castro had apparently thought the boatlift was an opportune time to decrease his prison over-crowding.

Upon arrival in the US those Cubans who were determined to be criminals were detained and placed in US penitentiaries with no clear plan as to what to do with them in the long term.

This uncertain future led predictably to unrest and ultimately to the prison riots.

When the inmates rioted and took control of part of the Atlanta Penitentiary, they also took some of the staff hostage.

The FBI was tasked with negotiating with the inmates and providing SWAT teams should it become necessary to retake control of the penitentiary by force and rescue the hostages.

SWAT teams from many of the large offices were called to respond to Atlanta. Our Detroit team was one of those teams.

So on a cold, rainy November night, an Air Force C-141, flying a circuit, landed at Detroit Metro Airport to pick up our team. Already on board were teams from Pittsburgh and Cleveland. We arrived in Atlanta early the next morning.

The Atlanta Penitentiary is a foreboding place. It was built in phases beginning in the late 1800s, into the first few decades of the 1900s.

It has 60-foot walls with watch towers on each corner. Upon our arrival we climbed to the top of one of the watch towers and looked down into the prison yard. It looked like a scene from a post-apocalyptic “Mad Max” movie.

Inmates were walking around the yard, all carrying homemade weapons: long-knives, swords, etc., made from scrap metal and sharpened on some of the prison machine tools.

After seeing that scene, we all assumed we were going to be in Atlanta for awhile. We knew we would prevail if it came to having to use force. After all they had made the critical tactical mistake of bringing knives to a gun fight. But they had hostages and a large supply of non-perishable food in their control.

The next morning I was walking to the Penitentiary administration building for the shift change briefing when I saw a tent where free coffee and Krispy Kreme donuts were being served. It was the Salvation Army tent. The Salvation Army was there every day of the insurrection including Thanksgiving serving coffee, donuts, smiles and kind words. I’ve been on a lot of SWAT operations, but I had never been offered coffee, donuts or kind words from the neighborhood in which we were operating.

Read more »

Air Force Staffer in Illinois Possessed Pipe Bombs Intended for Sex Offenders

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A 24-year-old Air Force staffer in Illinois is accused of having pipe bombs that he intended to use to attack sex offenders, the Associated Press reports.

Justin Vangilder, who also said he was feeling suicidal, was charged Friday with three felony counts.

Authorities said they found three pipe bombs, which he said he fantasized using on child molesters, the AP wrote.

Vangilder is assigned to Scott Air Force Base in southwestern Illinois.

FBI: Air Force Officer Accused of Breaking Lobbying Law with Lucrative Private Sector Job

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

As an Air Force captain, Adam J. Pudenz oversaw contracts to provide boots to Afghan soldiers.

Now Pudenz earns $40,000-a-month working for the company that was selling the boots, ABC News reports.

The FBI accuses Carroll,  an Iowa resident of violating a ban on representing companies that he oversees when he took a job with Kabul Milli Trading Company.

Pudenz, 33, was arrested last week and charged with violating the lobbying laws.

Pudenz oversaw nearly $1 billion worth of boots.

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