Man who encountered Texas shooter days before church massacre describes him as 'miserable'

Michigan man stayed at resort where Devin Kelley was security guard

DETROIT – Chuck Jackson was on vacation in Texas when he encountered the man who killed 26 people at a church -- just days before the massacre.

Jackson, an assignment editor at Local 4, KSAT's sister station in Detroit, stayed at Summit Vacation Resort in New Braunfels last week where the shooter, Devin Patrick Kelley, worked as a security guard.

Related: Devin Kelley escaped mental health facility in 2012

Jackson said he encountered Kelley once during check-in and again when asking if his two young children could use the resort's swimming pool, though he wouldn't know what the guard was capable of until days later.

Jackson said that Kelley was stern with him, and he felt like he was inconveniencing him with questions. 

His wife, sister and brother-in-law also interacted with Kelley. Afterward, Jackson said himself and the others all commented on how weird and creepy the security guard was.

"He was not normal. He was very weird," he said.

According to Jackson, Kelley was "a guy that just seemed miserable in life."

He also said that the guard seemed unhappy and appeared to be an outcast. 

"He seemed angry. He seemed annoyed by us, and he seemed like he wanted to exert some authority," Elizabeth Nitz, Jackson's sister said.


Three days after their encounters, Kelley would open fire at a Sutherland Springs church, where he killed 26 people and injured numerous others.

Read: Who were the Texas church shooting victims?

Jackson said that after he heard that the shooter at a small Texas church was a security guard, they started to speculate about the man they encountered at the hotel.

He said that the facial features matched those of the guard, but the shooter had a beard in the photo he had seen. Another photo of the shooter Jackson saw later looked more like the guard at the resort.

When he came into a work Tuesday, a co-worker asked him where he had stayed while on his trip before telling him that the resort was where the shooter was employed before the massacre. It was then that it all came together for Jackson.

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About the Authors

Paula Tutman is an Emmy award-winning journalist who came to Local 4 in 1992. She's married and the stepmother of three beautiful and brilliant daughters. Her personal philosophy in life, love and community is, "Do as much as you can possibly do, not as little as you can possibly get away with".

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