While a motive in the shooting is not known at this time, the killer’s history includes being a bible study teacher, as well as liking pages on Facebook devoted to atheism. Kelley is confirmed dead and was a husband as well as a father.
Kelley’s wife, Danielle Shields, was a past teacher at the same church where the tragedy took place.
In a heroic move, authorities say an unidentified citizen in the church “grabbed his rifle and confronted the suspect,” who was armed with a “Ruger AR assault type rifle.” The same citizen reportedly pursued the suspect, who subsequently crashed and was found dead in his vehicle. “We don’t know if it was a self inflicted gunshot wound or if he was shot by our local resident who engaged him with gunfire,” authorities said. The atrocity is the largest mass shooting in Texas history.
Kelley’s family appears to have strong ties to the church, and it is not yet known if any of his family members are victims. Heavy spoke with an uncle of Kelley’s who said he hopes the man “burns in hell.” At least one of the family members was killed.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Was Married With Children & Was Previously Divorced After ‘Assaulting His Wife & Child’
Public records show 26-year-old Kelley was a resident of New Braunfels, a city near San Antonio. Those records also indicate that the shooter’s family was from the same town.
The man reportedly lived in his parent’s $1 million home, according to the New York Times.
According to Texas marriage license records, Kelley was married to Danielle Shields on April 4, 2014 in Comal County. Kelley was 23 at the time of the marriage, and Danielle was 19. He was the father of at least two, a son and a daughter. Danielle and the children are safe following the attack, a source told Heavy.
Shields’ Facebook profile page shows two young children in photos, and her profile picture shows a smiling, seemingly happy woman.
An older Facebook account under the woman’s name states that she studied at Texas A&M University in Kingsville.
The woman’s Instagram account describes her as a a free spirited dog fanatic, nature enthusiast and “married to my best friend.”
It is not known if the wife was a victim of the carnage or if the marriage was on good terms at the time of the shooting.
A look at Kelley’s past shows violence wasn’t something new for the madman. The New York Times reported Kelley as being married “at least once before,” and added that he “was sued for divorce in 2012 in New Mexico, the same year he was court-martialed on charges of assaulting his wife and child.”
“In my opinion Devin is a coward and deserves to burn in hell…I am so sorry for the church goers in Texas…My heart goes out to the families,” Dave Ivey, Kelley’s uncle, wrote to Heavy.
In another post Ivey stated that “Devin was angry with government…He believes in his rights as a human…he is an atheist…Non Believer…He has had several domestic cases with his new wife who is a member of the church.”
2. Kelley’s Mother-in-Law Received ‘Threatening Texts’ From Kelley
Christopher Combs, the FBI Agent in charge said Kelley “expressed anger” towards his mother-in-law, Michelle Fields. Combs stated the following, which you can watch in the above news conference:
It’s a senseless crime but we can tell you there was a domestic situation going on within this family. The suspect’s mother-in-law had attended this church. We know that he had made threatening texts from him, and we can’t go into details about that domestic situation that is continuing to be vetted and thoroughly investigated…this was not racially motivated, it wasn’t over religious beliefs…there was a domestic situation going on with the family and in-laws.
Michelle has a P.O. box listed in Sutherland Springs, and her Facebook profile also indicates that she lives in the same town.
Michelle is Facebook friends with the wife of the pastor, Sherri Pomeroy, indicating the family had strong ties to the church. The Pomeroy’s lost their daughter in the tragedy, as reported by The Boston Herald.
“My husband and I were ironically out of town in two different states,” Pomeroy told the Herald in a text. “We lost our 14-year-old daughter today and many friends.”
3. Michelle Shields’ Mother Is Among the Victims
At this time it is known that at least one of Kelley’s family members was killed. Michelle Shield’s mother, Lula Woincinsky White, was murdered in Sunday’s shooting, according to a Facebook update posted by a woman who says she is White’s niece.
“This was my aunt’s last post before she was murdered this morning in the church shooting. I have no doubt where she is right now. She is in Heaven laying her crowns and jewels at the feet of Jesus and celebrating. I love and will miss you Aunt Lula Woicinski White,” wrote Facebook user Amy Johnson Backus, posting a copy of the last post her aunt put on the social media site:
The shooter’s parents, Michael and Rebecca Kelley, are from New Braunfels, Texas, as are his two sisters, Lillian and Lauren. They have not been named as victims.
According to a Google Plus account, Rebecca attended Texas A&M University, and worked as an “Art Director at Dilloware.”
A LinkedIn page for Kelley’s sister Lauren states that she “worked with at-risk and homeless young adults ages 16-22,” in 2011. “The program is intended as an intermediary step between foster care and self-sufficiency. The residents were given a place to stay and taught life skills necessary for independence and were aided in the furtherance of their educations.”
A source told Heavy that most of Kelley’s family were members of the church, and added that they remembered the shooter showing up for service only “a few times.”
It is not known if any of Kelley’s family members were victims of the mass shooting.
4. His Wife Was a Teacher at the Church
According to a profile on Indeed.com, Shield’s was a “teacher for toddlers” at First Baptist of Sutherland Springs from June of 2009 to March of 2013. Her responsibilities included teaching the children about God, helping with “their life stones that are needed,” and being a “positive influence in their life,” the page stated.
The page also said Shields was once a coach for Special Olympics and a behavioral leader in the past, and that she volunteered with the elderly.
5. Kelley’s Home Is Being Searched & Family Members Are Likely Being Interviewed
According to AL.com, authorities were searching Kelley’s home as of Sunday night, and didn’t “believe Kelley is linked to organized terrorists.”
ABC News reported that “Two sheriff’s vans were parked outside and police officers stood at the gate of a cattle fence surrounding the address listed for the Texas church shooting suspect, preventing a group of waiting journalists from entering.”
The home was described by the station as being “in a wooded area on the rural, western outskirts of New Braunfels, north of San Antonio.”
Investigators are likely interviewing the man’s family to help understand how he could commit such a devastating act of evil.
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