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Texas church shooting: Why federal law should have stopped Devin Kelley from buying guns

Published: Tuesday, November 07, 2017 @ 4:31 AM

Who is Devin Patrick Kelley, the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church Shooter

Devin Patrick Kelley shot and killed at least 26 people Sunday at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs near San Antonio. His history of violent crime should have prevented him from being able to purchase an assault-style rifle.

Here’s what we know about how the 26-year-old New Braunfels resident was able to purchase the rifle used in the attack:

>> Texas church shooting: Scenes from home of gunman Devin Patrick Kelley

1. Assault conviction. While in the Air Force, Kelley was court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his then-wife and stepchild, whose skull was fractured in the incident. After serving a year in military prison, Kelley was discharged for bad conduct.

>> Devin Patrick Kelley: What we know about Sutherland Springs Baptist Church shooter

2. Background check. Kelley in April 2016 purchased a Ruger AR-556 rifle at an Academy Sports + Outdoors in San Antonio. He should have failed a federal background check during that purchase because of his military record, said former Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who in 1995 authored Texas’ concealed handgun license law.

The Air Force, however, failed to report Kelley’s criminal record to the FBI, according to The Associated Press.

>> Texas church shooting: Pastor’s daughter, mother of 3 among victims of shooting

Geoffrey Corn, a professor of military law at the South Texas College of Law Houston, said that based on the offense Kelley was convicted of in military court — an Article 128 family assault charge — he almost certainly would have fallen under the prohibition against felons purchasing or possessing firearms.

Military courts do not classify offenses as misdemeanors or felonies, but an Article 128 conviction in almost all cases would correspond to a felony. Corn said his conviction under military law also should have prohibited him from purchasing body armor.

>> PHOTOS: Dozens dead, wounded in Texas church shooting

3. Systemic failures. The federal background check system also failed to prevent the perpetrators of the mass shootings at Virginia Tech University and the Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina, from buying guns, Patterson said. The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System should have stopped the shooters in those incidents from getting guns, although for different reasons: Charleston shooter Dylan Roof had a felony drug conviction, and Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho had been deemed mentally ill by a judge.

“What I would suggest is the (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) database is not complete and it’s not updated quickly enough,” Patterson said. “We may very well have a lack of interface between the military convictions and the civilian convictions.”

>> Read more trending news

4. State license denied. Kelley was denied a Texas handgun license, Gov. Greg Abbott said. However, that denial would not have prevented him from purchasing or carrying the assault weapon. That’s because Texas is essentially a “constitutional carry” state when it comes to “long guns,” meaning people can openly carry assault-style rifles without a special permit.

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Without a voice, DC reporter Jamie Dupree's work still resonates across the US

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 6:23 AM

Jamie Dupree. (Photo credit: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Jamie Dupree. (Photo credit: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

A familiar Cox Radio voice is determined to be heard again.

>> On Cox DC bureau reporter loses voice in medical mystery

Cox Media Group Washington correspondent Jamie Dupree has spent more than three decades covering Capitol Hill, but nearly two years ago, his method of communication had to change.

>> The radio silence of Jamie Dupree

Doctors say a rare neurological condition is making it difficult for his brain to tell his tongue what to do while speaking. Placing a pen in his mouth helps him speak.

“It’s hard, but I am working to come back hard,” Dupree tells WSB Radio.

>> Read Jamie Dupree's Washington Insider blog here

Doctors say a rare neurological condition is making it difficult for Washington correspondent Jamie Dupree's brain to tell his tongue what to do while speaking. Placing a pen in his mouth helps him speak. (Photo via

He is now hoping a meeting with specialists at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta will help him figure out why he lost his voice. 

And the reporter in him has not quit.

“He still does interviews; he feeds us audio,” WSB Radio News Director Chris Camp says. Dupree also covers Congress via Facebook, Twitter and Cox Media Group websites. 

>> DC reporter Jamie Dupree honored on House floor

“He may not be able to talk, but boy you can hear him awful loud,” Camp adds.

Dupree is thankful to all who have wished him well. While the condition has obviously affected his job, that is not what he says hurts him the most.

“Think about not being able to talk to your kids, or your wife or your father or your friends. While my work is hard and different, life is about a lot more than that.”

>> WATCH: WSB-TVs Berndt Petersen speaks with Jamie about his struggle over the past couple years

Dupree says Emory researchers are trying a new treatment that will slow down the movement of his tongue to make it easier for him to speak. In the meantime, Jamie wants everyone to know his overall health is good.

“Even though he can't speak, Jamie is still the most trusted voice in Washington DC,” WSB Radio’s Bill Caiaccio says of his colleague and friend. “He was already the hardest working reporter in our nation’s capital, and now he works even harder to get the job done.”

WSB Radio anchor Chris Chandler echoes those sentiments, saying, "I've always said Jamie is the most valuable on-air presence on our stations, and he still is.

“There's not a word of news from Washington that he hasn't reported and broken down for us.”

Mark Arum, WSB Radio traffic anchor and talk show host, adds that Dupree is an invaluable resource: “He might have lost his voice, but he still has the drive to get the story and get it right.”

>> Read more trending news 

Sabrina Cupit, who anchors midday for WSB Radio, says Dupree is so much more than his voice: “His knowledge of Washington, his connections, his balanced reporting; they are all still a major part of what we do on air every day here at WSB.

“Personally, I have never met a kinder, more honest or just downright great human being in my life. I am praying for the return of his voice. I do miss hearing it.”

Get Dupree's take on what's happening in Washington delivered to your inbox every weekday by clicking here.

Jamie Dupree is a reporter for the Cox Media Group Washington News Bureau. 

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Brawl breaks out at IHOP after manager confronts unruly party

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 11:25 AM

File photo.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Owners of the Midtown IHOP are working to add more security at the restaurant after an early-morning attack.

>> Read more trending news

During the early-morning hours on Friday, March 16, the restaurant's manager, Mohammad Al Hourani, confronted an unruly party of five. 

Tuesday, police arrested Malachi Okelley.

“They started getting louder and louder. The customers inside started getting annoyed,” said Al Hourani.

The manager said Okelley was one of several customers who became loud and aggressive before he asked them to leave.

Shortly after, he found himself in a fight with the five customers, who began throwing objects at him as he fought off others. 

“My face was covered with blood. I couldn’t even open my eyes,” he said. 

Al Hourani is back at work, now with 16 stitches on his face and four staples in the back of his head. 

He said he is planning to have more security inside his restaurant.

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Austin bomb victim's father thanks authorities in letter, questions son's death

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 3:02 PM

Austin Package Explosions: Suspect Dead

The father of the first Austin bombing victim, 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House, thanked local and federal law enforcement officers for their handling of the investigation in a letter released Thursday that also questioned the meaning behind the attacks.

>> Read more trending news

“I wish to express my deepest appreciation for the exhaustive efforts and work of the Austin Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agency, and other agencies that participated in this investigation of the series of explosive devices,” Elliot House, Anthony House’s father, wrote in a letter first reported by CBS News.

>> Related: Austin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House

“Hopefully, the death of the bomb maker suspect ends the ring of fear and terror in the Austin area, although it leaves a few questions, shared with both the family of my son, Anthony House, and 17-year-old Draylen Mason, both being black and the only deaths in the series of bombings,” House continued. “We are plagued with how they were selected and why.”

Austin police have identified the people killed in two separate package explosions as Draylen Mason, left, and Anthony House. Mason died in a bombing Monday morning. House died after an explosion March 2. Photos: Courtesy of Kylie Phillips and Norrell Waynewood.(American-Statesman Staff)

Anthony House was the father of an 8-year-old girl and a Texas State University graduate.

Elliot House said he also appreciated the “personal condolence” from Christopher Combs, the FBI’s special agent in charge of the San Antonio Field Division, and Mayor Steve Adler. House noted that he especially appreciated that Adler “apologized for the initial investigation of the bombing involving my son by APD.”

>> Related: Austin bombings: How to help the victims

Many in the community have criticized the Austin Police Department for its handling and characterization of the first bombing. Several people in an East Austin town hall last week questioned whether Austin police would have more readily sounded the alarm and warned the community about the package bombs sooner had the first bombing killed a white person in a neighborhood west of Interstate 35.

>> Related: 55 hours of terror, and a final blast in Austin serial bombings

Elliot House expressed his grief, saying that the death of his son in the bombing left him childless, as his other son, Corey Alan House, was killed in 1994 at age 17.

“I have no more sons. I continue to mourn my losses,” House wrote in the letter to authorities. “But continue the good work.”


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CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Woman steals waiter's tip at Memphis restaurant

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 2:39 PM

FILE PHOTO (Craig Toocheck, license:
Craig Toocheck,
FILE PHOTO (Craig Toocheck, license: Toocheck,

A Facebook post is going viral in Memphis, but the people featured in it likely wish it wasn’t.

The post, which has been shared more than 339,000 times, reads as follows:

It features two videos.

In the first video, you see two women getting ready to leave Casa Mexicana on Hacks Cross. One of them places money on the table – a tip for the waiter – and they walk away.

>> Read more trending news 

Once they leave, a woman in the neighboring booth points to the table with the money. She looks over her shoulder and around the restaurant and talks to the man she’s sitting with.

Eventually, she gets up and takes the money off the table. After hurrying back to her booth, the woman stuffs the money in her shirt and the couple continues looking around.

In the second video, the couple looks around a little more and keeps talking before finally leaving the restaurant.

A waiter quickly walks into frame and goes to the table where the money was left. He lifts up the chip basket and a plate, but the money is nowhere to be found. 

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