Texas Church Shooter Identified
The Texas church shooter who killed more than two dozen people may have been motivated by a domestic situation, authorities said Monday.
The gunman, identified as Devin Patrick Kelley, was a former U.S. Air Force airman who officials said began having legal trouble in 2012. He was court-martialed and sentenced to military prison for assaulting his wife and child, UPI reports.
Kelley, who lived in New Braunfels, Texas, died shortly after the attack on the church Sunday. A motive for the attack remains unclear but people familiar with Kelley said he constantly expressed disdain for people of faith on social media.
“He was the first atheist I met. He went Air Force after high school, got discharged but I don’t know why,” Patrick Boyce, who attended New Braunfels High School with Kelley, told reporters.
According to the Christian Post, Kelley had previously served in the Air Force at a base in New Mexico but received a “bad conduct” discharge in 2014 related to charges of assaulting his wife and child in 2012.
Kelley’s avowed atheism seems in sharp contrast to his history as a Vacation Bible School volunteer teacher at First Baptist Church in Kingsville. He claimed on LinkedIn that for the entire month of June 2013, he helped the minds of children, 4-6 years old, “grow and prosper.”
In a statement late Sunday, however, First Baptist Church Kingsville downplayed his work and affiliation with the church.
“Media reports have made a connection between Devin Patrick Kelley and First Baptist Church of Kingsville, Texas. According to our records, Kelley volunteered one night as a helper during the 2014 Vacation Bible School. He was not a member of the First Baptist Church of Kingsville, nor did he serve in any other capacity,” the church said.
“Our congregation would like to offer our prayers and deepest condolences to the Sutherland Springs community mourning the loss of their loved ones.”
Investigators said 14 of those killed were children — including the 14-year-old daughter of the pastor. The victims of the shooting ranged in age from 5 to 72, and also included a pregnant woman.