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Apple served with warrant to unlock the Texas church shooter’s iPhone SE

Two weeks ago today, 26 people were killed by a gunman at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Two phones were discovered at the scene: older push-button LG and what local news described as a “blood spattered” Apple iPhone SE. Now local law enforcement has served Apple with a search warrant in order to retrieve information from the smartphone.

The gunman Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, walked into the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs on November 5 and opened fire. He later killed himself.

According to a San Antonio Express-News report, Texas Rangers have served Apple with the warrant for data on Kelley’s iPhone SE, seeking access to both local and iCloud information such as calls, messages and photos.

“The iCloud feature is an optional service. Obtaining such records, if they exist, directly from Apple could aid authorities investigating the worst mass shooting in modern Texas history,” the report said late Sunday.

As reported by The Washington Post, the mystery handset was indeed an iPhone. Apple reached out to law enforcement after the press conference, offering technical assistance in getting onto the device

An Apple spokesperson said the company does not comment on law enforcement matters. Kelley also had a second phone that has gone unmentioned by authorities — a low-tech LG 328BG.

Four email addresses belonging to Kelley have been discovered: thelifeofdevin@gmail.com, devinkelley1991@gmail.com, sevenup555@yahoo.com and kelleydevin1991@gmail.com.

Earlier, refuting the claims of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Apple reportedly said it offered to help the investigating agency in opening the attacker’s encrypted iPhone. The FBI had said that it has been unable to access the encrypted iPhone used by Kelley.

The FBI and Apple have had strained relations after the December 2015 San Bernardino, California, terror attack when the company had refused the agency’s request to help it unlock the phones of the attacker despite a court order.

In a statement, CEO Tim Cook had said the court order sought and obtained by the FBI would pose a serious threat to data security.

“Unfortunately, some companies are unwilling to help enforce court orders to obtain evidence of criminal activity stored in electronic devices,” Rosenstein said at a speech in Salt Lake City in August. “I hope that technology companies will work with us to stop criminals from defeating law enforcement. Otherwise, legislation may be necessary.”
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