Authorities are trying to analyze the cellphone of the gunman whoinside a small-town Texas church.
After investigators obtained the phone through a search warrant, it was flown to FBI headquarters in Stafford County, Virginia, FBI Special Agent in Charge Chris Combs said in a news conference Tuesday. So far, investigators have been unable to get into the phone, Combs said.
“With the advance of technology, and the phones, and the encryption, law enforcement at the state, local or federal level is increasingly unable to get into phones,” Combs said. “I’m not going to say what kind of phone it is, I’m not going to tell every bad guy what phone to buy to harass our efforts to try to find justice here.”
Combs said his office would continue to work on cracking the phone and would turn it over along with other forms of digital media evidence to the Texas rangers.
One of the phones used by the killers in the San Bernardino, California, attacks was inaccessible to investigators more several months before the FBI was to unlock it.
Then FBI director James Comey cited the case as an example of how encryption is affecting counterterrorism efforts. But he said the dilemma of bad guys “going dark” is mostly affecting state and local law enforcement officials who are trying to solve murder, drug and car accident cases.
In the small town of Sutherland Springs, grieving townspeople reeled from their losses. The dead ranged from 18 months to 77 years old and included multiple members of some families.
“Our church was not comprised of members or parishioners. We were a very close family,” said the pastor’s wife Sherri Pomeroy, who, like her husband, was out of town when the attack happened. “Now most of our church family is gone.”
The couple’s 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle Pomeroy, was among those killed.
Kelley’s mother-in-law sometimes attended services there, but the sheriff said she was not at church Sunday.
The massacre appeared to stem from a domestic situation and was not racially or religiously motivated, Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director Freeman Martin said. He did not elaborate.
Based on evidence at the scene, investigators believe Kelley died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he was chased by Willeford and another man and crashed his car.
The 26-year-old shooter also used his cellphone to tell his father he had been shot and did not think he would survive, authorities said.
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