2017-11-11 21:08:05 UTC
escaped from a mental health facility five years ago after sneaking guns
onto an Air Force base and making threats against commanders, according to
a police report.
Devin Patrick Kelley's June 2012 escape from Peak Behavioral Health
Systems in New Mexico occurred months after he was accused of abusing his
ex-wife and her child, according to an El Paso Police Department report
obtained by CNN affiliate KVIA on Tuesday.
Kelley was picked up after the Santa Teresa, New Mexico, facility listed
him as missing. The documents said officers had been warned that Kelley
was a danger to himself and others and that he had sneaked firearms onto
Holloman Air Force Base, where he had reportedly threatened his
Kelley had been placed into pretrial confinement at a civilian facility
days before his escape, according to two Air Force officials.
As investigators try to piece together a picture of Kelley, more clues
have emerged in the deadliest shooting in modern Texas history.
Authorities placed the death toll at 26, including an unborn child. The
dead parishioners from the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs
ranged in age from 17 months to 77 years old.
Kelly had previously attended the Texas church but he was not welcomed
there, Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt told CNN on Tuesday.
Pastor Frank Pomeroy of First Baptist Church knew Kelley from his
attendance at church events, according to Tackitt. The pastor wanted him
There were no threats but Pomeroy told authorities Kelley "was not a good
person to be around."
"He did not think that he was a good person and did not want him around
his church," Tackitt said of the pastor. "But he said, 'How do I run him
away from my church?'"
On Sunday, Kelley reappeared at the church. This time, he was armed with
an assault rifle, 15 loaded magazines and an obsession with a family
Kelley, who had a record of violence, was consumed by a dispute with his
mother-in-law and spent time posting anti-God and pro-gun statements on
Facebook in the months before the shooting, according to officials, as
well as acquaintances and former classmates.
He sent threatening text messages to his mother-in-law and texted her as
recently as Sunday morning -- not long before he sprayed bullets at the
people in the church with an assault rifle, authorities said. He may have
thought she was at church on Sunday.
"There are many ways that he could have taken care of the mother-in-law
without coming with 15 loaded magazines and an assault rifle to a church,"
said Freeman Martin of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The FBI has the shooter's cellphone, but has not yet accessed its content
due to encryption, a growing challenge for law enforcement, Christopher
Combs, FBI special agent in charge, said at a Tuesday news conference.
As of Tuesday, 10 of the wounded remained in critical condition, Martin
In an October 29 Facebook post, Kelley posted a photo of a Ruger AR-556
rifle -- the same type used in the shooting -- on a white couch, former
classmates and members of the community told CNN. The caption read, "She's
a bad bitch." It's not clear if it was the same weapon he used on Sunday.
A crime victims compensation fund will provide $6,500 to families of the
victims for funeral expenses, officials said. A funeral company has
The US Air Force acknowledged it did not relay information about Kelley's
court martial conviction for domestic assault to civilian law enforcement,
something that could have prevented him from purchasing the firearms used
in the shooting. The Air Force and Department of Defense are investigating
how records of his domestic violence conviction were handled.
Kelley, 26, had three gunshot wounds. He was shot in the leg and torso by
an armed citizen, and had a self-inflicted shot to the head, authorities
said. It wasn't clear which gunshot killed Kelley, but evidence at the
scene "indicates the subject may have died from a self-inflicted gunshot
wound," Martin said. He was found dead in his vehicle.
Learning more about the shooter
Officials had said there was a domestic situation involving Kelley, but
didn't go into any details.
"This was not racially motivated. It wasn't over religious beliefs. There
was a domestic situation going on with the family and in-laws," said
Christopher Combs, the special agent in charge of the FBI's San Antonio
Kelley had also expressed anger toward his mother-in-law, Martin said.
His grandmother-in-law was killed during the attack, multiple friends of
the woman told CNN. Lula White was the grandmother of Kelley's current
wife and often volunteered at the church, according to friends and her
Public records, and those who knew Kelley, describe a troubling history.
Kelley was the subject of an investigation for sexual assault and rape in
2013 in Comal County but the investigation ended without any charges,
Sheriff Mark Reynolds said.
In 2014, law enforcement responded to a disturbance call at an address
where Kelley and his then-girlfriend lived. Police notes from the event
say it was considered a misunderstanding.
Christopher Leo Longoria went to high school with Kelley. He said his
former classmate would focus on women's reactions and that it would "creep
out the ladies." Longoria said he had recently unfriended Kelley on
Facebook because of personal attacks against his friends.
"He was also posting a lot of non-God beliefs, atheism, a lot of gun
violence and a lot of weapons that he was into," Longoria told CNN.
Longoria described Kelly's Facebook posts as "a ridiculous amount of
nonsense." Kelly's page has been taken down but people in the community
have confirmed its existence and content.
His social media suggested a fascination with mass shootings, a law
enforcement official said.
Kelley served at the Holloman Air Force Base beginning in 2010, but was
discharged in 2014. He was court-martialed in 2012 for assault on his
spouse and child. Kelley served a year in military prison and received a
bad conduct discharge, according to Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek.
Kelley was involved in "multiple occasions of domestic abuse" against his
ex-wife and stepson, said Don Christensen, who was the Air Force chief
prosecutor when Kelley was sentenced.
He said Kelley "violently" shook the child, causing fractures in his skull
and a subdural hematoma, a severe head injury in which there is bleeding
between the skull and the brain.
Kelley "admitted to, out of anger, pushing his son down and injuring him,"
The gunman had been also arrested in August 2014 on an animal cruelty
charge in El Paso County, Colorado, after a witness said he had punched a
dog, grabbed it by the neck and dragged the animal. Kelley denied the
account and was issued a summons but didn't spend any time in jail.