Texas church shooter had vi­o­lent his­tory Past in­cluded an­i­mal cru­elty, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, stay in men­tal asy­lum

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - BY VALERIE RICHARD­SON

Dur­ing his short but vi­o­lent life, the Texas mas­sacre gun­man es­caped from a men­tal fa­cil­ity, spent a year be­hind bars for do­mes­tic abuse, was cited for beat­ing his dog and came un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for sex­ual as­sault — yet still man­aged to slip be­tween the cracks.

The lat­est episode in his troubled past emerged last week, when the Co­mal County Sher­iff’s Of­fice con­firmed that Devin Pa­trick Kel­ley “was dis­cov­ered to have been in­volved in an al­leged Sex­ual As­sault” in 2013.

“The al­leged sex­ual as­sault in­ves­ti­ga­tion stalled some­time in Oc­to­ber 2013 for rea­sons yet to be de­ter­mined,” said the sher­iff’s of­fice state­ment. “Ad­di­tion­ally, a call for ser­vice was lo­cated for a dis­tur­bance in Fe­bru­ary 2014 at the sus­pect’s res­i­dence. The call re­sulted in no of­fense re­port be­ing gen­er­ated.”

The news came the same day as rev­e­la­tions that the now-de­ceased Kelly es­caped five years ago from a men­tal health fa­cil­ity, where he was found suf­fer­ing from “men­tal dis­or­ders” af­ter at­tempt­ing to smug­gle weapons onto Hol­lo­man Air Force Base in New Mex­ico.

An El Paso County Po­lice Depart­ment in­ci­dent re­port ob­tained by Hous­ton Chan­nel 2 said that Kel­ley was picked up by of­fi­cers on June 13, 2012, af­ter be­ing re­ported miss­ing or es­cap­ing from Peak Be­hav­ior Health Ser­vices in Santa Teresa, New Mex­ico.

Of­fi­cers were told that Kel­ley “suf­fered from men­tal dis­or­ders and had plans to run from Peak Be­hav­ior Health Ser­vices to the listed ad­dress of oc­cur­rence and take a bus out of state,” ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

Kel­ley, then a 21-year-old air­man first class, was de­scribed as “a dan­ger to him­self and oth­ers as he had al­ready been caught sneak­ing fire arms onto [Hol­lomon] Airforce base,” said the re­port.

Po­lice were also ad­vised that Kel­ley “was at­tempt­ing to carry out death threats that [he] had made on his mil­i­tary chain of com­mand” and that he was “fac­ing mil­i­tary crim­i­nal charges.”

The last line of the re­port says that the in­for­ma­tion was sub­mit­ted to the FBI’s Na­tional Crime In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter, which runs back­ground checks for firearms pur­chases.

Au­thor­i­ties said the 26-year-old Kel­ley was nowhere to be found in the FBI data­base, even though he had a do­mes­tic vi­o­lence con­vic­tion, which should have pre­cluded him from be­ing able to pur­chase firearms.

In­stead, ac­cord­ing to Fred Mi­lanowski, Bureau of Al­co­hol, To­bacco and Firearms spe­cial agent in charge, he was able to buy the four guns found at the scene, in­clud­ing the Ruger AR-556 used in the ram­page, as well as pass back­ground checks at Academy Sports & Out­doors stores in San An­to­nio.

Dur­ing the ram­page, the shooter emp­tied 15 mag­a­zine rounds, killing 26 peo­ple and wound­ing 20 dur­ing Sun­day ser­vices at the small First Bap­tist Church in Suther­land Springs, Texas.

The Air Force an­nounced that it would con­duct a “com­pre­hen­sive re­view” into why Hol­lomon of­fi­cials failed to re­port Kel­ley’s con­vic­tion to the FBI.

Kel­ley pleaded guilty in Novem­ber 2012 to do­mes­tic as­sault on his then-wife and step­son, serv­ing a 12-month sen­tence be­fore be­ing kicked out of the Air Force on a bad-con­duct dis­charge.

A 2014 court-mar­tial doc­u­ment posted by Na­tion One News said that he ad­mit­ted to strik­ing his step­son “on the head and body with a force likely to pro­duce death or griev­ous bodily harm” on sev­eral oc­ca­sions be­tween April and June 2011.

He also pleaded guilty to hit­ting, chok­ing, kick­ing and pulling the hair of his wife. The doc­u­ment said that he pleaded not guilty to point­ing a loaded firearm at his wife, a charge that was with­drawn and dis­missed.

In 2014 he was cited for mis­de­meanor cru­elty to an­i­mals af­ter re­peat­edly punch­ing and drag­ging his dog at a trailer park in Colorado Springs, where he lived be­fore mov­ing to New Braun­fels, Texas.

He was or­dered to pay $368 in resti­tu­tion and re­ceived a de­ferred pro­ba­tion­ary sen­tence, which was dis­missed in 2016 af­ter he com­pleted it.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Prior to his killing spree at a Suther­land Springs, Texas, church, Devin Pa­trick Kel­ley had been in trou­ble with the law for spousal and child abuse as well as an­i­mal cru­elty.

Kel­ley

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