Law enforcement officials named Devin Kelley as the suspected gunman in the mass shooting at a south Texas church that left 26 people dead and at least 20 others wounded Sunday morning.
Kelley, a 26-year-old white male, was reportedly wearing black clothing, tactical gear and a ballistic vest when he fired a Ruger AR assault-style rifle upon churchgoers, according to the Associated Press. The First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, averages 50 attendees on a Sunday, multiple victims said, which means more than half were killed.
Kelley was a former U.S. Air Force Airman who worked in logistics in New Mexico, reported The Washington Post. He was court-martialed in 2012 and sentenced to a year in military prison for assaulting his wife and child. After his release, he was discharged due to bad conduct and reduced in rank, Air Force Spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told NBC News.
Kelley had a history of other minor legal trouble, including an animal neglect charge in Colorado and a string of traffic violations in Comal County, where Kelley lived, reported the Washington Post and NBC News.
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According to CBS News, Kelley lived in a barn on a rural property in New Braunfels, Texas, roughly 35 miles from the church. A neighbor told KENS 5 that gunshots were often heard late at night, but he didn’t think much of it due to the rural nature of the area. “You never think your neighbor is capable of something like that. Makes you wonder, right? If that’s the case, if he did that, that kind of worries you, thinking we’ve been living next door to this guy,” neighbor Mark Moravitz told the station.
Kelley’s social media pages were nearly free of information, and have since been removed. One of the few pieces of content still available before his Facebook page was deleted was a prominent cover photo of a rife with the caption “She’s a bad b---h.”
A motive for the shooting has yet to be fully determined.
U.S. Representative Henry Cueller (D-Texas) told the LA Times he had spoken with community members, who told him they believed it was not a random shooting.
“They think there was a relative there. It was not random,” he told the paper. “There’s going to be some sort of nexus between the shooter and this small community. Somebody in that church will help us.”
Kelley had in-laws who attended the church but were not present during the shooting, CNN reported. The Associated Press reported Monday that the shooter sent threatening text messages to his mother-in-law before the attack. Investigators concluded that the attack was not racially or religiously motivated.
CNN reports that of the 26 dead, 8 were members of the same family.
President Donald Trump called Kelley “a mental health issue of the highest order” and said it was “not a guns situation” at an early morning press conference, reported the Associated Press. “Mental health is your problem here.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.