At least 26 people were killed in Sunday’s Texas shooting at the First Baptist Church in the small town of Sutherland nearby San Antonio. A total of 20 were wounded. Victims ranged in age from 18 months old to 72 years old, including the 14-year-old daughter of the church’s pastor. At least 10 people are still in critical condition, and according to the sheriff, “nearly everyone had some type of injury.”
It is the deadliest mass shooting in the Texas’ history. Authorities are not yet certain what motivated the suspected shooter.
The Gunman Was 26-Year-Old Devin Patrick Kelley
Authorities have identified the shooter as a 26-year-old man Devin Patrick Kelley. He purchased the Ruger AR-556 Rifle that he used in the rural Texas shooting in April 2016, from an Academy Sports & Outdoors store in San Antonio, Texas.
When he filled out the background check paperwork to purchase the gun, he listed a Colorado Springs, CO address and said that he didn’t have any disqualifying criminal history. Kelley was also a member of the US Air Force, and served at a base in New Mexico from 2010 until he was discharged. In 2012, he was court-martialed for assault on his wife and child. He served a year in prison and received a bad conduct discharge two years later.
But at another point, the state denied Kelley the right to purchase a gun. So how he was able to acquire one is still unknown. The massacre follows on the heels of numerous deadly shootings in the U.S. in recent months, but the conversation around gun law and gun control continues to divide the nation.
Gunman’s Mother-in-Law Attended the Texas Church
Freeman Martin, regional director with the Texas Department of Public Safety, described Kelley as a young while male dressed in all-black and a ballistic vest. He
was spotted at a Valero Gas station across the street from the church, before leaving crossing the street to his target. Kelley began firing before he entered the church. As Kelley left the church, an armed resident confronted and shot the gunman.
Martin reports that Kelley then called his father, saying that he “didn’t think he was going to make it.” He then shot himself. Law enforcement later found Kelley dead from a gunshot wound inside his vehicle. Multiple weapons were also found in his car. It’s still not certain whether his death was caused by the armed resident’s shot or his own self-inflicted gunshot wound.
According to a local sheriff, the gunman’s in-laws attended the church in Texas. Martin told reporters that Kelley had issues at home and had been sending his mother-in-law threatening text messages, including one on Sunday morning. While his mother-in-law attended the church from time to time, she wasn’t there on the day of the Texas shooting. The massacre left 4% of the town’s residents dead.
President Trump Reacts to Texas Shooting
President Trump has called the shooting both an “act of evil” and “horrific.” He believes that the attack was the result of a severe “mental health problem” and not an issue with U.S. gun laws.
“Mental Health is your problem here,” the president stated. He described Kelley as a “very deranged individual” and went on to say “this isn’t a guns situation.” Rather, it’s a “mental health problem at the highest level. It’s a very, very sad event.”
Data Source: cnn.com