Texas Rangers conducting an investigation into the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs served Apple with a search warrant earlier this month in an effort to access the files contained within the iPhone belonging to gunman Devin Patrick Kelley. On Nov. 5, Kelley opened fire on the First Baptist Church, killing 26 people and injuring 20 others. Kelley was found dead eight miles away from the scene with a silver and white iPhone SE found by his side.
The FBI attempted to retrieve anything from digital photos to text messages to important documents inside Kelley's iPhone, but were unsuccessful. In order to unlock an encrypted device, Apple would need to create a "backdoor" software, which CEO Tim Cook is strongly against. Kelley's situation has set the stage for another debate with the FBI over how far Apple should go to protect the privacy of their customers. Both sides were at odds following the 2015 San Bernardino shooting which left 14 dead and 22 people injured.
Apple claims that upon hearing about the FBI's desire to access files within Kelley's iPhone, the company reached out to the agency to offer help. "Our team immediately reached out to the FBI after learning from their press conference on [Nov. 7] that investigators were trying to access a mobile phone," Apple told Mashable in a statement. "We offered assistance and said we would expedite our response to any legal process they send us."