Devin Patrick Kelley killed himself as he fled, among new details discussed by morning news programs about Sunday’s mass shooting at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
More to the point for families of his 26 victims, the gunman was not eligible to purchase the assault rifle he used to gun down churchgoers, after having been court-martialed by the Air Force in 2012. He served a year in prison and received a bad conduct discharge in 2014 for assault on his spouse and assault on their child, an Air Force rep said.
That should have disqualified him from buying a gun, morning news pundits said, being the military equivalent of a felony. Kelley bought the weapon last year at a gun store in the San Antonio area, according to local authorities updating the press.
Also Monday morning, President Donald Trump performed the Too Soon To Talk Gun Control station of the cross traditionally performed by GOP politicians after white-male-perpetrated domestic mass murder. Trump performed that ritual in answer to a question about the shooting at a joint presser in Tokyo, with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Trump said Sunday’s shooting was a mental-health issue.
Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt told reporters the gunman’s former in-laws had attended the church in the past, which may explain why he drove 30 miles to perpetrate the largest mass shooting in Texas history. His ex-wife’s parents were not at the church at the time of the slaughter. Half of the victims were children, authorities said.
With Sunday’s massacre, three of the top 5 mass shootings in modern U.S. history have occurred in about a year. That also includes last month’s Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, in which 58 were gunned down and hundreds more wounded. Also Orlando’s Pulse Night Club shooting in June of ’16, where 49 were gunned down.
Also making the list, the Virginia Tech shooting in April of 2007, in which 32 lost their lives, and the Sandy Hook slaughter of elementary school children in December 2012 in Newtown, CT.