Texas church gunman Devin P. Kelley was armed with three guns and probably intended to kill his ex-wife’s mother, with whom he had argued before the rampage that left 26 people dead and 20 injured, officials say.
After the attack, Kelley called his father to tell him he was shot by an armed bystander and that he did not think he would survive.
He should not have been legally permitted to own the weapons, which included a semi-automatic rifle and two handguns, he used to attack the small church outside San Antonio during Sunday services following his dispute with his ex-wife and in-laws.
Kelley was convicted of assaulting his wife and breaking his infant stepson’s skull in 2012, while stationed at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.
“He assaulted his stepson severely enough that he fractured his skull, and he also assaulted his wife,” said Don Christensen, a retired Air Force colonel who prosecuted Kelley for assault on his spouse and their child. “He pled to intentionally doing it.”
He was sentenced in to 12 months’ confinement and reduction to the lowest rank, he was discharged from the military with a bad conduct discharge after his confinement. The assault case sparked a downward spiral that involved an eventual divorce and later included charges of animal cruelty.
Freeman Martin, the regional director for the Texas Department of Public Safety, told reporters it appeared that Kelley died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after first being shot by a “Good Samaritan”.
“This was not racially motivated, it wasn’t over religious beliefs,” Martin said.
“There was a domestic situation going on with the family and in-laws,” he said, adding that the mother-in-law had recently received threatening text messages from Kelley. She was once a congregant at the church, but she was not there during the attack on Sunday.
Democratic lawmakers are renewing their calls for gun control, following the largest mass shooting in Texas history, as Republicans, including President Donald Trump and local lawmakers, insisted firearms are not the problem.
“As my colleagues go to sleep tonight, they need to think about whether the political support of the gun industry is worth the blood that flows endlessly onto the floors of American churches, elementary schools, movie theaters, and city streets,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who is demanding stricter gun control laws.
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