The Texas Rangers investigating the mass shooting of Sutherland Springs, in which 26 people were killed by gunman Devin Patrick Kelley, have sent a search warrant to Apple to help to unlock his iPhone.
Court records show how Texas Ranger Mr. Kevin Wright obtained a search warrant last week for access to any files stored on Mr. Kelley’s iPhone, a second mobile phone found near his body and for files stored in Kelley’s iCloud account (the digital Apple archive that can also sync iPhone files).
Authorities examining the worst mass shooting in modern Texas history say that any help they could get from Apple, in this case, would be welcome.
Apple’s policy regarding iCloud content has since then changed and now states that material may be provided to law enforcement agencies if they obtain search warrants.
However, when it comes to unlocking iPhones, Apple has famously clashed with the FBI in the past.
In a stark reminder to the San Bernardino terrorist attack, where the FBI wanted Apple to create and electronically sign new software that would enable them to unlock the iPhone 5C it had recovered from one of the shooters who killed 14 people and injured 22 in a terrorist attack, US authorities are now waiting to see if Apple will be more helpful in this case.
At the time, the month-long dispute was finally resolved when the FBI announced it had found a way itself to access the phone and would not need Apple’s help anymore.
An Apple spokesman said the company does not comment on law enforcement matters.
The court records don’t show whether authorities have obtained the files from Kelley’s phones.
Mr. Christopher Combs, the FBI special agent helping the Texas Rangers investigating the case commented: “I’m not going to describe what phone it is because I don’t want to tell every bad guy out there what phone to buy.”