Texas church shooting suspect’s history of abuse before the massacre
Obtained by ABC News (SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas) — The man who allegedly killed 26 people and injured at least 20 others in a rural Texas church this weekend had a history of domestic and animal abuse, according to officials.
Devin Kelley, 26, was named by law enforcement as the suspected shooter. He was found dead in his car after fleeing the scene of the shooting in Sutherland Springs Sunday morning.
Texas law enforcement officials said Monday that the shooting was connected to a “domestic situation going on within [his extended] family,” which wouldn’t be a first for him.
Kelley served in the Air Force from 2010 until 2014 and he left after receiving a bad conduct discharge, which is the second-lowest level of dismissal in the armed services.
He was court-martialed in 2012 on charges of assault and aggravated assault on his spouse and a child, according to the Air Force. He was found guilty by a mixed jury of officers and enlisted personnel and began his military confinement at the Naval Consolidated Brig, Miramar in California, outside San Diego, starting on Nov. 7, 2012. He was discharged from both his confinement and military service in May 2014.
Kelley had been serving at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. He had been trained at Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas and worked his way up to be a traffic maintenance apprentice at Holloman before he became a prisoner. The highest rank he achieved was as an Airman First Class (E-3), but as part of his conviction he was reduced in rank two grades to a Basic Airman (E-1).
He also ran into trouble with the law as a civilian, according to court records, which indicate he was cited for misdemeanor cruelty to animals in August 2014. Court records indicate that Colorado Springs police responded to a call after a woman said she saw Kelley repeatedly punch a dog with a closed fist. The citation was issued in Colorado and was dismissed after he completed deferred probation and paid restitution in 2016.
Most recently, he was fired from a brief stint as a water park security guard this summer, his former employer said Monday.
The company that owns Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, Texas, a water park and resort about 35 miles north of the church, released a statement on Monday confirming that Kelley worked there this summer.
“Devin Patrick Kelley worked briefly — 5 1/2 weeks — this summer at Schlitterbahn New Braunfels as a seasonal unarmed night security guard. His employment was terminated,” Winter Prosapio, the corporate director of communications at Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort, wrote in a statement posted to the resort’s website.
“All our security guards must pass a criminal background check through the Texas Department of Public Safety,” she continued.
Prosapio declined to provide specifics about his firing. “He was not a good fit,” she told ABC News.
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