Saturday 18 November 2017

Texas church gunman had 'history of domestic violence and animal cruelty'

Nomaan Merchant and Paul J. Weber

The man named as the gunman in a mass shooting at a Texas church was discharged from the US Air Force for allegedly assaulting his spouse and child and also had a history of animal cruelty, it has emerged.

A US Air Force spokeswoman, Ann Stefanek, said Devin Kelley served 12 months' confinement after a 2012 court-martial for the assault on his spouse and child.

He ultimately received a bad conduct discharge and reduction in rank.

Neighbours of the gunman said they had heard gunfire in days leading up to the church atrocity while it also emerged that the killer had previously been charged with misdemeanour animal cruelty in the US state of Colorado.

Ms Stefanek said Kelley served in Logistics Readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his discharge in 2014.

His job was responsible for moving passengers, cargo and personal property in military transportation.

Members of the FBI Evidence Response Team use metal detectors at the playground at the site of the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland, Texas, U.S., November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Members of the FBI Evidence Response Team use metal detectors at the playground at the site of the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland, Texas, U.S., November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Memorial flowers are surrounded by media waiting for a news conference outside the site of the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland, Texas, U.S., November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
A woman delivers flowers to a memorial surrounded by media waiting for a news conference outside the site of the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland, Texas, U.S., November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Members of the FBI Evidence Response Team use metal detectors outside the site of the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland, Texas, U.S., November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Pastor Frank Pomeroy (L) listens to his wife Sherri speaking at a news conference outside the site of the shooting at his church, the First Baptist Church of Sutherland, Texas, U.S., November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Members of the FBI Evidence Response Team use metal detectors outside the site of the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland, Texas, U.S., November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Pastor Frank Pomeroy, with his wife Sherri, listens at a news conference outside the site of the shooting at his church, the First Baptist Church of Sutherland, Texas, U.S., November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Officials speak to the news media during a news conference, a day after a mass shooting at the First Baptish Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, U.S., November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Jon Herskovitz
A law enforcement vehicle sits outside the entrance where Devin Patrick Kelley lived Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, in New Braunfels, Texas.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
A bouquet of flowers lies at the base of a roadblock where law enforcement officials work at the scene of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. . (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
The playground at the site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
A woman looks at her phone on her porch next to the site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
A woman looks at her phone, on her porch next to the site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
A woman sits on her porch next to the site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Neighbours who live next to the site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs are pictured, Texas, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Neighbours who live next to the site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs are pictured, Texas, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Neighbours who live next to the site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs are pictured, Texas, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
A woman is escorted to site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Neighbours who live next to the site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs are pictured, Texas, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Police stand outside the site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
The site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
The playground at the site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
The site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
The playground at the site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
The site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
A man walks past the front of the First Baptist Church on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, where a gunman opened fire on a Sunday service in Sutherland Springs, Texas. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Media and police stand outside the site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Police stand outside the site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
A police officer walks down the street past a huge refrigerated tent outside the site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
A police officer stands outside the site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Kelley has been identified as the person who opened fire on Sunday at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 people and wounding about 20 others.

Kelley is reported to have lived in a San Antonio suburb and does not appear to be linked to any organised terrorist groups.

The official said investigators are looking at social media posts Kelley may have made in the days before Sunday's attack, including one that appeared to show an AR-15 style semi-automatic weapon.

An address listed in online records as belonging to Kelley is located in New Braunfels, Texas, just outside San Antonio and about 35 miles from Sutherland Springs.

At the address listed for Kelley in New Braunfels, two sheriff's vans were parked outside and police officers stood at the gate of a cattle fence surrounding the property.

Neighbours said that they heard intense gunfire coming from the direction of the address listed for Kelley in recent days.

"It's really loud. At first I thought someone was blasting," said Ryan Albers, 16, who lives across the road.

"It had to be coming from somewhere pretty close.

"It was definitely not just a shotgun or someone hunting.

"It was someone using automatic weapon fire."

A person matching Kelley's name and date of birth also registered in 2014 to vote in Colorado, with an address listed in Colorado Springs, home of the US Air Force Academy.

The Colorado Secretary of State's office lists his registration now as inactive.

Court records in Colorado's El Paso County indicate Kelley was cited for animal cruelty on August 1 2014, when he lived in a mobile home park near Colorado Springs.

He was given a deferred probationary sentence and was ordered to pay 368 dollars in restitution.

The charge was dismissed in March 2016 after Kelley completed his sentence.

The Denver Post reports court records indicate someone was granted a protection order against Kelley on January 15 2015, also in El Paso County.

The suspect, who is believed to have taken his own life after the church killings, was found dead in his vehicle near the border between Texas's Wilson and Guadalupe counties.

Press Association

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in World News