Published: Tue, November 21, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

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

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

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.

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

Authorities are persisting in their efforts to get access to the Texas mass shooter's iPhone, two weeks after 26 people were killed by a gunman at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. 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. The investigators could have tried to unlock the iPhone with the help of the shooter's fingerprint in the first hours after the tragic event, but that's only if the shooter did use Touch ID to protect his phone. If the iPhone is locked and its file system is encrypted, Apple will be needed to find a way to extract and decrypt the data, just like in the San Bernardino murder case in California. "Unfortunately, at this time, we are unable to get into that phone".

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During a recent press conference, Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Christopher Combs complained about not having access to the shooter's phone due to not being able to unlock it.

Fortune contacted both Apple and the Texas Department of Public Safety for more information and will update this story if they respond. But Apple told TechCrunch on Sunday that the company had not yet heard from any law enforcement agencies asking for help accessing Kelley's phone.

Apple reached out to law enforcement after the press conference, offering technical assistance in getting onto the device. While Apple says in a post on law enforcement guidelines that the company may provide iCloud data "in response to a search warrant issued upon a showing of probable cause", Apple's stance on protecting user privacy could preclude the company from helping law enforcement access Kelly's iPhone.

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