Devin Kelly slaughtered at least 26 people in a church because of a domestic dispute.
By: AP and World Israel News Staff
Devin Patrick Kelly, who massacred 26 people during Sunday church services at a small Texas town, did so following a dispute he had with his family, authorities said.
The massacre appeared to stem from a domestic situation and was not racially or religiously motivated, Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director Freeman Martin said. He did not elaborate.
Kelley, 26, fired at least 450 rounds of ammunition at worshippers in Sunday’s attack at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. The dead ranged in age from 18 months to 77 years old.
Investigators revealed Monday that Kelley had sent threatening text messages to his mother-in-law, a member of First Baptist, before the attack. Kelley’s mother-in-law sometimes attended services there, but the sheriff said she was not at church Sunday.
A History of Domestic Violence
Kelly had a history of domestic violence that spanned years before the attack.
He was dismissed from the US Air Force in 2014 for a 2012 assault on his ex-wife in which he choked her and struck her son hard enough to fracture his skull.
Sheriff’s deputies also had responded to a domestic violence call in 2014 at Kelly’s home involving a girlfriend who became his second wife.
In 2014, he was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty in Colorado after a neighbor reported him for beating a dog.
He was also the focus of a protective order issued in Colorado in 2015.
Criminal History Withheld
Despite his history of violence and run-ins with the authorities, he was able buy weapons because the Air Force did not submit his criminal history to the FBI as required by military rules. Under Pentagon rules, information about convictions of military personnel for crimes such as assault should be submitted to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Investigation Services Division.
Kelley died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he was chased by bystanders and crashed his car.
He was found dead in his vehicle. He had three gunshot wounds — two from where an armed man hit him in the leg and the torso and the third self-inflicted wound to the head.
Shortly before his death, Kelly called his father and told him he had been shot and did not think he would survive.
The shooter’s name went unspoken at a news conference on the killings, and authorities there said it was done purposely.
“We do not want to glorify him and what he has done,” Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director Freeman Martin said at the Monday briefing.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs agreed, saying “we don’t talk about the shooter” in the hope that it “doesn’t encourage other people to do horrific acts.”
The Associated Press explained that this choice reflects a larger movement of authorities, victims’ families and academics who want to deny to mass killers the fame they often seek, and to keep from inspiring the next one.
The movement was created by No Notoriety, a group at the forefront of the effort that focuses on spreading simple, meme-friendly ideas.
“Stop making rampage mass murderers famous,” read a post on Facebook and Twitter, along with a blotted out photo of the Texas shooter. “Focus on victims and heroes — not their killers!” one popular post said.