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Sutherland Springs mass shooting investigators delay unlocking perpetrator's iPhone SE

Sutherland Springs mass shooting investigators delay unlocking perpetrator's iPhone SE

Authorities are continuing to investigate the mass shooting that left 26 people dead and 20 others wounded when a gunman opened fire inside a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, two weeks ago.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, the warrant covers data stored in the iCloud account of the shooter Devin Patrick Kelley.

The Texas Rangers obtained search warrants for files stored on Kelley's phone, which was discovered near his body after the November 5th bloodbath at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, The San Antonio Express-News reports. They've also obtained a warrant for files stored on a second mobile phone (made by LG) that was found at the scene of the shooting.

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The FBI wanted Apple to create software that could circumvent the iPhone's touch security that permanently locks the phone if someone incorrectly guesses the phone's passcode too many times.




It's unclear if Apple will comply with the search warrant or is helping law enforcement crack into Kelley's iPhone or related iCloud account.

The offer is likely still on the table, if law enforcement is willing to accept. Apple no doubt would like to be in a position of assisting in uncovering a potential motive or other useful information without having to employee the encryption-breaking tactics that were asked of the company in the wake of San Bernadino.

According to a Reuters report, however, the Federal Bureau of Investigation failed to contact Apple during a crucial 48-hour period after the shooting when the company could have advised the authorities to unlock the iPhone using Touch ID with Kelley's fingerprint. Additionally, Apple encrypts, or scrambles, the data stored on iPhones, so that the data remains unusable to anyone who forcibly tries to access it. The FBI tried to force Apple to create software that would unlock the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone.

Apple has clashed with law enforcement in the past over privacy and encryption, most notably in 2015 following the San Bernardino shooting.

Fortune contacted both Apple and the Texas Department of Public Safety for more information and will update this story if they respond.