Police say a 26-year-old Texas man who once taught Bible study shot and killed at least 26 people and injured 20 more inside of a church Sunday. Devin Patrick Kelley, who lived San Antonio suburb New Braunfels, was identified by authorities as the suspect in what’s the deadliest mass killing at a house of worship in modern U.S. history.
Police say that around 11:15 a.m. local time November 5, Kelley, wearing tactical gear and a ballistic vest, started firing a gun from the outside of First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. He kept shooting as he entered the church and took aim at parishioners who were gathered inside for a worship service. One of the victims was the 14-year-old daughter of the pastor at the church. The ages of the victims range from 18 months to 72-years old, police say.
Police said that after the shooting, Kelley fled the area in his vehicle, and residents pursued him through Guadalupe County. He was found deceased inside the vehicle after he crashed. It’s not yet known if he shot himself, or if he was shot by those chasing him.
Police looked through Kelley’s social media profiles prior to him being identified, and his Facebook profile was deleted hours after the shooting. The Daily Beast reported that Kelley was married, and his mother-in-law has a P.O. box listed in Sutherland Springs. His home was raided by agents following the shooting.
On October 29, Kelley posted a photo of what looked like an AR-15 semiautomatic weapon with the caption: “She’s a bad b**ch.” He reportedly used the photo of the gun as his cover photo and the shooting took place exactly one week later.
A LinkedIn account with Kelley’s name says that he served in the United States Air Force from 2009-2013 and taught Bible study at VBS at Kingsville FBC.
A later CBS News report said that Kelley served in the Air Force from 2010 until 2014. He was dishonorably discharged in May 2014 for assaulting his spouse and their child, Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson reported.
“I am a hard working dedicated person,” his bio on LinkedIn said. “I live by he core values on which the Air Force go by.”
A list of causes Kelley “cares about” on the LinkedIn profile states things like “civil rights and social action,” “health,” “human rights” and “arts and culture.”
Kelley’s Facebook profile photo showed him with two small children. According to a listing of marriage licenses in Texas, Kelley got married to Danielle Shields on April 4, 2014 in Comal County. He was 23 at the time and she was 19.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said special agents from its Houston and San Antonio offices are responding to the shooting and assisting in the investigation. No motive has been identified yet, and officials said there’s no evidence suggesting Kelley was part of a terrorist organization.
President Donald Trump tweeted that he was briefed on the situation and was monitoring it while in Japan on his trip across Asia.
Sutherland Springs is a small unincorporated town about 40 miles east of San Antonio. Its reported population in 2000 was 362 people.
To learn more about Kelley and the church shooting, click below.
The mass shooting comes a little over one month after a gunman opened fire on thousands of people gathered at a concert across from his Las Vegas hotel room. Fifty-eight people died and over 500 others were injured in what was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.