Vice President Mike Pence hailed local heroes and offered prayerful comfort to survivors and families of those who were lost in Sunday’s massacre at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Texas Wednesday. He pledged to ensure that the bureaucratic bungling that allowed deranged gunman Devin Kelley access to weapons, will never happen again.
“He lied on his application. He had a history of mental illness, and there were bureaucratic failures,” Pence said of Kelley, 26, during a vigil for the victims at Floresville’s high school field the San Antonio Express-News reported.
Kelley had served briefly in the U.S. Air Force and was convicted of assaulting his then-wife and stepson in 2012, his conviction was not reported as required to a federal database. This critical reporting could have prevented Kelley from buying the guns he used in the devastating attack on Sunday.
A report in The New York Times Tuesday said the church’s video recorder was on at the time of Kelley’s attack and it captured him shooting his victims, which included several young children, execution-style.
Authorities say Kelley began firing his Ruger AR-556 rifle at the church building shortly after the 11 a.m. service began. He emptied more than 15 magazines, holding 30 rounds each and when he was done 26 people were dead and 20 others suffered serious injuries. At least eight members of one family, including a pregnant mother and her unborn child were in the mix.
“We will find out why this information was not properly reported in 2012 and we are working with leaders in Congress to ensure this never happens again,” Pence added.
Pence never mentioned Kelley by name during his address but stoically suggested that if his attack on the church was an effort to silence the “voice of faith” it had failed.
“No attack, no act of violence, will ever break our spirit or diminish the faith of the American people. So I’m here as vice president to ensure that the full resources of the federal government are being brought to bear in support of the investigation and in support of these precious families that have suffered so grievously here in Sutherland Spring,” he said in a clip from his address.
“Whatever animated the evil that descended on that church last Sunday, if the attacker’s desire was to silence their testimony of faith, he failed,” Pence noted, to cheers. “The voice of faith, the witness of faith in that small church and that small town now echoes across the world.”
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Source: Christian Post