Texas church gunman threatened in-law in texts - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Texas church gunman threatened in-law in texts

Posted: Updated:

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas (AP) -- Authorities say the gunman who opened fire in a Texas church had sent threatening text messages to his mother-in-law, who attended the church.

Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director Freeman Martin said Monday that the mass shooting stemmed from a domestic situation and was not racially or religiously motivated.

Authorities say that evidence at the scene leads them to believe that Devin Patrick Kelley died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he crashed his car. He had been chased by armed bystanders.

They say Kelley also used his cellphone to tell his father that he had been shot and didn't think he would survive.

Authorities believe Kelley was being pursued by two community members and investigators believe gunfire was exchanged before Kelley's vehicle crashed.

The sheriff says investigators believe Kelley shot himself after the wreck.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety regional director Freeman Martin, the gunman arrived at a Valero gas station near the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs at around 11:20 a.m. Sunday. He was dressed in black, wearing tactical gear and a ballistic vest.

He crossed the street to the church, left his vehicle and started firing a Ruger AR assault-type rifle at the church. Then he entered the church and fired killing 26 people and wounding 20 others. The youngest victim was just 18-months-old. 

As he left the church, the shooter met an unidentified area resident with his own rifle who pursued him. The suspect was found dead in his vehicle near the border between Wilson and Guadalupe counties. Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt said investigators believe he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Kelley had a history of trouble long before he opened fire Sunday at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.

He had been discharged from the Air Force for assaulting his wife and child, according to an Air Force spokeswoman.

He served 12 months' confinement after a 2012 court-martial. He ultimately received a bad conduct discharge and reduction in rank, the spokeswoman, Ann Stefanek, said Sunday.

She said Kelley served in Logistics Readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his discharge in 2014. His job was responsible for moving passengers, cargo and personal property in military transportation.

Kelley previously been charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty in east-central Colorado.

Court records in El Paso County indicate Kelley was cited on Aug. 1, 2014, when he lived in a mobile home park near Colorado Springs. He was given a deferred probationary sentence and was ordered to pay $368 in restitution. The charge was dismissed in March 2016 after Kelley completed his sentence.

The Denver Post reports court records indicate someone was granted a protection order against Kelley on Jan. 15, 2015, also in El Paso County.

A U.S. official told the AP that Kelley doesn't appear to be linked to organized terrorist groups. The official said investigators are looking at social media posts Kelley may have made in the days before Sunday's attack, including one that appeared to show an AR-15 style semi-automatic weapon. The official requested anonymity because the person did not have authorization to speak publicly.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Sign Up for WDRB's Sports Newsletter

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WDRB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.