Church shoot­ing stuns Texas town

26 gunned down in church mas­sacre, mark­ing Texas’ dead­li­est mass shoot­ing ever

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

Pre­sented by CHI St. Luke's Health

Last Sun­day, a gun­man tot­ing a ri­fle and wear­ing a bal­lis­tic vest walked into ser­vice at First Bap­tist Church in the tiny town of Suther­land Springs and killed 26 peo­ple.

The vic­tims ranged in age from 5 to 72. A preg­nant woman also was killed in the gun­fire. The pas­tor and his wife’s 14-year-old daugh­ter also was slain in the shoot­ing; the two were out of town that day.

The gun­man, iden­ti­fied as Devin Kel­ley, 26, had been send­ing threat­en­ing text mes­sages to his mother-in-law, who at­tended church there. The for­mer air­man was dis­hon­or­ably dis­charged on a charge of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, but the Air Force failed to re­port his charge to the FBI, which should have kept the gun­man from buy­ing a firearm.

As the gun­man left the church, he was con­fronted by a lo­cal man with a ri­fle. The sus­pect tried to flee in his ve­hi­cle, but the lo­cal man pur­sued him. Kel­ley was found dead with three gun­shot wounds, one re­port­edly self-in­flicted.

Mark Mul­li­gan pho­tos / Hous­ton Chron­i­cle

Twenty-six crosses, stand in a field, above, in Suther­land Springs on Mon­day to mark the vic­tims of the state’s dead­li­est mass shoot­ing. AT RIGHT: Dar­ius John­son, left, of La Ver­nia, prays with com­mu­nity mem­bers dur­ing a vigil in Suther­land Springs on Mon­day.

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