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FBI unable to access church shooting suspect's phone, funeral funds available for victims

Authorities hold news conference in Sutherland Springs to provide update on church shooting investigation. (SBG San Antonio)

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas -- The Department of Public Safety started out by saying they would not discuss three issues: the motive, the names of victims, and the suspect and his release from the Air Force.

The DPS spokesperson said they have released that the suspects was at odds with his in-laws, that his mother-in-law attended the First Baptist Church, and that there was a conflict between the two families. He said interviews are ongoing and that any information released at the news conferences could affect future interviews.

They believe they have everyone properly identified and have notified the victims' next of kin. The Medical Examiners Office is now working to confirm their findings and will then give permission to release the names. They hope to have the names later today or tomorrow at the latest.

With regards to the suspect and his release from the Air Force, the DPS spokesperson said they are referring all questions back to the Air Force.

A spokesperson for the FBI said that all indicates are that the Ruger 556 used by the suspect is not a fully automatic weapon but is a semi-automatic weapon. They also stated there was no evidence a bump stock was used. He said they will not be 100% sure until the weapon is test fired.

ATF agents have also acquired shell casings from the scene. The casings will be entered into the ATF National Integrated Ballistic Identification Network to determine if the gun has been used in any other shootings.

A spokesperson for DPS said they have the suspect's cell phone, have executed a search warrant on the phone, and that it has been turned over to the FBI for analysis. An FBI spokesperson then said the phone has been taken to Quantico where it is being examined.

They have unable to get into the phone. The FBI spokesperson said this highlights the issue concerning the advancement of technology and encryptions and the increasing problems local, state, and federal law enforcement officials face trying to get into phones.

The spokesperson said he would not describe what type of phone the suspect had because he did not want to "tell every bad guy what phone to buy.' He said they are working very hard to get into it and will continue until we find an answer.

A spokesperson for the district attorney's office provided details about an Attorney General program called the Crime Victims Compensation Fund. The fund will release up to $6500 per victim to families for expenses, including funeral expenses. The spokesperson also said a company has come forward to donate all of the caskets for the victims.

Questions & Answers:

Why was concealed handgun license denied for suspect?
DPS: That's protected information. All they can say is that he did not have a concealed handgun license.

When will investigation conclude and when will the church reopen?
DPS: Unable to answer question about when the church will reopen. They hope to finish up the crime scene investigation and forensic analysis by Wednesday night and turn it over the local officials.

Where any other persons involved?
DPS: They have no information that any other persons were involved in this crime.

Questions about pregnant victim?
DPS: She is one of the victims inside the church, and they are not prepared to release any information regarding the victims inside the church until they get confirmation from the Medical Examiners Office.

Was shooting domestic terrorism?
DPS: They have no reason to believe the shooting was politically motivated or based on religious beliefs.

Questions about suspect's mother-in-law
DPS: She does attend the church but was not there at the time of the shooting.

Questions about search warrants
DPS: They are executing search warrants such as those on the cell phone.

Questions about background check on gunman
DPS: There was nothing in their databases that precluded him from purchasing firearms.

First responders arrival time?
DPS: Following the first call received, officers from the Wilson County Sheriff's Office arrived within 4 minutes.

Gunman's plan
DPS: A DPS spokesperson said they could only speculate about what his plans were and he believes the neighbor who engaged Kelley and shot him is a hero.



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