Texas Church Shooting: What we know about the gunman, Devin Patrick Kelley

By Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist , Van Darden - Managing Editor
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SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas - While the names of the 26 people killed in the Sutherland Springs church shooting have yet to be released, more details are emerging about the man who killed them.

From a tumultuous relationship with his in-laws, to prior animal cruelty and assault charges, online records and information from law enforcement give a clearer picture as to who Devin Patrick Kelley was.

READ THE INITIAL REPORT: 26 dead, 20 injured in Sutherland Springs church shooting, sources say 

Here's what we know about Kelley so far:

Kelley was living in New Braunfels at the time of the shooting

Neighbors said Kelley lived with his wife and toddler in a residence on his parents' New Braunfels property. Neighbors also said his parents lived in a house on the property. People who lived next to Kelley said Devin was "just a normal guy" and the most unusual thing they heard from the property was gunfire -- but that gunfire was common in the rural area.

Kelley had a criminal past

Officials said Kelley had previously been charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty in east-central Colorado. Court records in El Paso County indicate Kelley was cited on Aug. 1, 2014, when he lived in a mobile home park near Colorado Springs. He was given a deferred probationary sentence and was ordered to pay $368 in restitution. The charge was dismissed in March 2016 after Kelley completed his sentence. Kelley was also court-martialed in 2012 for two counts of Article 128 UCMJ, assault on his spouse and assault on their child.

Kelley had at least one protection order filed against him

The Denver Post reports court records indicate someone was granted a protection order against Kelley on Jan. 15, 2015, also in El Paso County. 

Kelley received a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force in 2014

Kelley was previously a U.S. Air Force member who served in Logistics Readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his discharge in 2014. An Air Force spokesperson said he was court-martialed in 2012 for two counts of Article 128 UCMJ, Assault on his spouse and assault on their child. He received a bad conduct discharge, confinement for twelve months and a reduction to the grade of E-1.

He briefly worked as an unarmed security guard for the Schlitterbahn New Braunfels water park and the Summit Vacation Resort

A spokesperson for the popular Texas water park Schlitterbahn New Braunfels sent the following statement: "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. All our security guards must pass a criminal background check through the Texas Department of Public Safety." Officials noted he was terminated.

Claudia Varjabedian is a manager at the Summit Vacation Resort in New Braunfels. She told KSAT 12's Tim Gerber no one really got a chance to know him very well because most of the employees left at 5 p.m. so they didn’t interact with him. Varjabedian said he had no disciplinary issues and none of the guests complained about him. She said Kelley worked Saturday but left early because he had a headache. She said she was “shocked  and saddened” by what he’s accused of.

Kelley bought one gun a year from 2014 to 2017

A law enforcement source told ABC News that the Ruger rifle used in the church shooting was purchased from Academy Sports & Outdoors in San Antonio. The sports retailer has 240 locations. Officials said Monday Kelley purchased 2 guns in Texas and two guns in Colorado in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 -- one gun a year. Officials did not say when in 2017 he purchased the latest gun.

Academy sent the following statement:

Academy Sports + Outdoors sends our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and the entire Sutherland Springs community. Based on information we received from law enforcement, we confirmed that the suspect purchased two firearms from two San Antonio locations, one in 2016 and one in 2017. We also confirmed that both sales were approved by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). We are cooperating with law enforcement as they investigate further.

Kelley was married ... twice

Records from the Texas Department of State Health Services show Kelley got married April 4, 2014, in Comal County to a woman named Danielle. She was 19, Kelley was 23. It's unclear when or if they got a divorce.

Court records in New Mexico show Kelley divorced a woman named Tessa on Oct. 17, 2012, on "grounds of incompatibility." Under the settlement agreement, the property list for the husband lists a .38 Special revolver. The divorce papers indicated that Kelley was employed by "USAF Holloman," and that "spouse in jail." He and Tessa Kelley were married April 12, 2011.

Why did he do it?

Authorities said they are not investigating the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism. Instead, they said Kelley had a tumultuous relationship with his in-laws who were members of the church. Officials said there was "a domestic situation going on in the family" and that Kelley had sent threatening texts to his mother-in-law days before the shooting. Kelley’s in-laws were not there at the time of the shooting.

The shooting was not motivated by race or religion

On Monday, officials said that the shooting was not motivated by race or religion. They are investigating the shooting as a "domestic situation."

Kelley called his dad after the shooting

Kelley called his father while he was being chased and told him he had been shot and “didn’t think he was going to make it,” officials said at Monday’s press conference.

Continuing coverage on KSAT.com:

Photos, videos from Sutherland Springs church shooting scene 

Pastor says victims in church shooting 'were believers, with their Lord and savior right now'

Reactions pour in following mass shooting at church in Sutherland Springs, Texas 

New details about victims, gunman released in First Baptist Church shooting

Men shot at, chased after Sutherland Springs church shooter 

Vigil held outside First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs 

Wilson County Sheriff: 'No way' for people to escape church shooting 

A look inside Sutherland Springs' First Baptist Church before mass shooting

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