The Texas church shooter wasn’t a member of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, but he was tied to the church via family members, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
Devin Kelley, 26, killed 26 people, some of them children, and injured about 20 when he fired a high-powered weapon inside the crowded church. Kelley was a former Air Force airman who was discharged after he assaulted his wife and child.
New remarks from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott detailed that Kelley tried to get a license to carry a gun in Texas, but was denied.
In 2012, Kelley was court-martialed and convicted of domestic violence at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, N.M, where he was a logistics readiness specialist, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said in a statement. In 2014, Kelley was sentenced to 12 months confinement and given a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force. He contested his conviction in the U.S. State Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, but to no avail, according to the Express-News.
Law enforcement officials told the newspaper that Kelley had a relatively clean record, facing only minor traffic offenses in the last few years. He was reportedly worked at the popular Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort in New Braunfels, nearby San Antonio, and was licensed by the Texas Department of Public Safety as a security guard, the New York Post reported.
According to a LinkedIn profile that allegedly belonged to Kelley, he was once a Bible school teacher, and he graduated from high school in 2013.
The massacre is the deadliest shooting in Texas history. Kelley was believed to be using a “Ruger AR assault-type rifle,” according to Freeman Martin, the regional director for the Texas Department of Public Safety, which he reportedly purchased from an Academy Sports & Outdoors store in San Antonio, the Express-News reported.
Kelley was standing outside the church when he first opened fire, Martin said at a news conference Sunday evening. Kelley then moved inside the small church and continued firing. A neighbor told the Express-News that she heard a quick “pop-pop-pop” then silence, then more bursts of gunfire.
Martin said there was “a lot of work to be done in this investigation.”
“Everybody here wants facts, wants information about what’s going on,” Martin said. “We’d love to provide you more. But if you came here wanting to know the motive behind the shooting, you’re going to leave here disappointed.”
The tragedy ended when a Sutherland Springs resident who lived near the church heard the sounds of gunfire and grabbed his own rifle. As the gunman exited the church, the resident shot at him. The gunman dropped his rifle, ran to his car and sped away, Martin said.
“That suspect, right at the Wilson-Guadalupe county line, he ran off the roadway and crashed out and was found deceased in his vehicle,” Martin said at the press conference. “At this time, we don’t know if it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound or if he was shot by our local resident who engaged him in gunfire. We know he’s deceased in the vehicle.”