Texas church shooter awarded security guard license despite lying to DPS about background

By Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist
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SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas - Copies of documents signed by the Texas church shooter Devin Patrick Kelley show he lied to the Texas Department of Public Safety while applying to become a private security guard.

Kelley, 26, of New Braunfels, killed 26 people at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs on Nov. 5, before killing himself.

Records obtained by KSAT 12's sister station in Houston, KPRC, show that Kelley lied when asked about previous convictions and military service. 

Kelley responded "no" when asked whether he had ever been discharged from the military and answered "no" to all questions asking whether he had been convicted of a Class B misdemeanor or greater offenses.

Kelley, however, was court-martialed in 2012 for two counts of Article 128 UCMJ, assault on his then spouse and assault on her child. He received a bad conduct discharge, confinement for twelve months and a reduction to the grade of E-1.

The Air Force's failure to report Kelley's domestic violence conviction allowed him a clear path to lie on his application to become an unarmed security guard for the popular Texas water park Schlitterbahn.

"There were no disqualifiers entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database that would have precluded the suspect from receiving a private security license," Tom Vinger, a spokesperson for the TxDPS said.

Vinger said the license allowed Kelley to serve in a role "similar to that of an unarmed uniform guard at a shopping mall."

See Vinger's full statement below:

The suspect did have a non-commissioned, unarmed private security license (similar to that of an unarmed uniform guard at a shopping mall).

There were no disqualifiers entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database that would have precluded the suspect from receiving a private security license.

Private security background checks include fingerprints, and criminal history checks with the applicable state and federal databases. The suspect cleared that background check when it was run.

Schlitterbahn released the following statement in response to the discovery:

We, like the rest of our community, were horrified to learn of the tragedy in Sutherland Springs at the First Baptist Church. We are keeping everyone impacted by this malicious act in our thoughts and our prayers.
 
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 in July. Kelley passed a Texas DPS background check. We remain confident in Texas DPS background check system while recognizing that the Department must rely on others to correctly report crimes under their jurisdiction. It is our hope that this tragedy will result in a redoubling of efforts to accurately and swiftly report crimes by every jurisdiction. 

Schlitterbahn said it "remain(s) confident in the Texas DPS background check system while recognizing that the department must rely on others to correctly report crimes under their jurisdiction." 

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