Authorities released the identity of the Texas church shooter suspect as Devin Patrick Kelley, who was 26 years old. He killed 26 people and injured 20 more.
Twenty-three people were killed inside the church, two people were killed outside the church and another succumbed to injuries.
This shooting comes on the eight-year anniversary of the Fort Hood shooting, when Nidal Hasan shot and killed 13 at the Fort Hood U.S. Army base; 30 others were injured in the 2009 shooting.
According to Defense Dept. records and various reports, Devin Patrick Kelley was a former U.S. Air Force E1 from 2010 to 2014, and he received a bad conduct discharge and was court-martialed in May 2014 for assaulting his wife and his child. He also was sentenced to 12 months confinement and two reductions in rank to basic airman.
There are multiple layers as to why he was able to buy a gun when he should not have been able to own or purchase a firearm.
Typically, someone discharged from the military for “bad conduct” and not receiving a “dishonorable” discharge, is still able to buy firearms legally. Under U.S. Code, dishonorably discharged military personnel are not allowed to legally purchase a firearm, and this is documented on the ATF’s website.
However, since Kelley was convicted of domestic assault in his “bad conduct discharge,” he should not have been able to purchase a gun. The Lautenberg amendment from the 1997 gun bill says that anyone convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor is not able to own or purchase a firearm. However, it appears that Kelley did not make it into the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System).
This means that when Kelley went to purchase guns, his background check would have come up clean in regards to his domestic violence charge against his wife and child.
From U.S. Code:
The Gun Control Act (GCA), codified at 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), makes it unlawful for certain categories of persons to ship, transport, receive, or possess firearms or ammunition, to include any person:
convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
who is a fugitive from justice;
who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act, codified at 21 U.S.C. § 802);
who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution;
who is an illegal alien;
who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
who has renounced his or her United States citizenship;
who is subject to a court order restraining the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of the intimate partner; or
who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
The GCA at 18 U.S.C. § 992(n) also makes it unlawful for any person under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year to ship, transport, or receive firearms or ammunition.
Further, the GCA at 18 U.S.C. § 922(d) makes it unlawful to sell or otherwise dispose of firearms or ammunition to any person who is prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms or ammunition.
Kelley was dressed in all black, entered the church and started firing. On his way out of the church, the suspect dropped his rifle and fled after being confronted by a local man who had grabbed his rifle.
Kelley was found a short while later, roughly five miles away, dead in his car from a gunshot wound, having crashed his car. It is currently unclear if he shot himself or a local resident shot him.
Kelley was wearing tactical gear and used an AR-15 gun.
The shooting took place at 11:30 a.m. local time at the First Baptist Church at 216 4th Street in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Sutherland Springs is roughly 35 miles outside of San Antonio.
Victims were taken to Connally’s Memorial Hospital.
This shooting comes on the eight years anniversary of the Fort Hood shooting where Nidal Hasan shot and killed 13 at the Fort Hood U.S. Army base. 30 others were injured in the 2009 shooting.
Sutherland Springs is 150 miles from Fort Hood.
Fox News reported:
Constable Thomas Silvas from Precinct 1 in Wilson County [Texas] confirmed to Fox News there was a “mass shooting” situation and that officials were working on removing the bodies from the church, but did not specify the number of people who were dead or wounded.
President Donald Trump tweeted about the event and says he is monitoring it from Japan.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement that “While the details of this horrific act are still under investigation, Cecilia and I want to send our sincerest thoughts and prayers to all those who have been affected by this evil act.”
Sutherland Springs has a population of a little under 500.