The man accused of killing 26 people and wounding at least 20 more at a rural church about 35 miles outside San Antonio was dishonorably discharged from the Air Force in 2014, the service said. Air Force Magazine photo illustration by Mike Tsukamoto.
Devin Patrick Kelley, the man accused of killing 26 and wounding at least 20 others at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday, previously spent four years in the Air Force, the service said. Kelley enlisted in 2010 and worked in logistics readiness at Holloman AFB, N.M., until his bad conduct discharge in 2014, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said.
In 2012, Kelley was court-martialed for two counts of assault on his wife and their child, Stefanek said. He was sentenced to 12 months of confinement and a reduction of rank to E-1 upon discharge.
On Sunday morning, Kelley opened fire just outside the church with a Ruger AR-556 rifle. He continued firing while he entered the church in the midst of an ongoing worship service. After killing and wounding nearly 50 churchgoers, Kelley drove away in his SUV.
He was pursued by two bystanders, who also exchanged fire with Kelley, until his car crashed. He was found dead in his vehicle, but Texas officials have yet to announce the cause of death pending an autopsy.
Before the attack, Kelley had sent “threatening text messages” to his mother-in-law, who sometimes attends the church, said Freeman Martin, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety, Reuters reported. The local sheriff’s office said that none of the family members were present during the attack.