Report: TX Church Attacker’s Gun-Barring Felony Was Reduced to Misdemeanor

This June 16, 2015, photo provided by the River Oaks Police Department, in Texas, shows Keith Thomas Kinnunen. Authorities say that Kinnunen is the man who carried out an attack Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas. (River Oaks Police Department via AP)
River Oaks Police Department via AP

Felony-level charges in 2016 against then-future Texas church attacker Keith Thomas Kinnunen were reduced to a misdemeanor via a plea.

New Jersey 101.5 / Associated Press reports the felony-level charge centered on “unlawful possession of a rifle/shotgun,” which Kinnunen allegedly possessed while bicycling outside a Phillips 66 refinery.

In 2017 the felony-level charge was pleaded down to “a petty disorderly persons offense.” Whereas the felony-level charges could have made it illegal for Kinnunen to buy a gun, the lower level charges “had nothing to do with firearms.”

Kinnunen had another set of charges from 2011 downgraded to misdemeanors. These charges, “felony assault and battery with a dangerous weapon,” were filed in Oklahoma and downgraded in 2012.

The Star Tribune reports that Kinnunen also pleaded a Texas assault charge down to a misdemeanor in 2008.

U.S. & Texas Law Shield attorney Edwin Walker commented on the various charges and plea deals for Kinnunen, noting, “If he had only misdemeanors and none of those were for domestic violence, and his competency had been restored by judicial decree, then yes, he would have been able to purchase a firearm.”

The ATF has yet to release details on how Kinnunen obtained the firearm he used in the December 29, 2019, attack.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at Sign up to get Down Range at




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