New details have emerged about Sunday’s mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, which killed 26 people, including children, elderly people and a pregnant woman.
The suspected shooter was a 26-year-old white man named Devin Patrick Kelley from New Braunfels, Texas. Kelley enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 2010. In 2012, he was court-martialed on charges he repeatedly hit, kicked and choked his wife, pointed a loaded gun at her and attacked his 18-month-old stepson with such force that it broke the toddler’s skull.
Kelley was confined for a year and then thrown out of the Air Force with a bad conduct discharge in 2014. But on Monday, the Air Force admitted it had failed to report Kelley’s domestic violence court-martial to a federal database, meaning Kelley had no problem buying a Ruger AR-556 assault-style rifle at an Academy Sports + Outdoors store in San Antonio, Texas, in 2016.
He reportedly used this gun to massacre the 26 people on Sunday. On Monday, authorities also said Kelley appears to have carried out the massacre because of a domestic dispute he had with his mother-in-law, who was a member of the First Baptist Church but was not present on Sunday. This is a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Freeman Martin: “One thing everybody wants to know is why did this happen. It’s a senseless crime, but we can tell you that there was a domestic situation going on within this family. The suspect’s mother-in-law attended this church. We know that he had made threatening—she had received threatening texts from him. And we can’t go into details about that domestic situation, that is continuing to be vetted and thoroughly investigated. But we want to get that out there, that this was not racially motivated. It wasn’t over religious beliefs. There was a domestic situation going on within the family.”
On Monday, seven activists from the group Gays Against Guns were arrested during a die-in protest on Capitol Hill to demand stricter gun control. We’ll have more on Sunday’s shooting massacre after headlines.