Police shot and killed a man, identified by law enforcement as Devin Kelley, 26, of New Braunfels, Texas, Sunday in Sutherland Springs after he opened fire on a community church. At least 25 people were killed and many more were injured in the attack. The shooter was identified by police as Devin Kelley and was believed to be the sole person responsible.
The shooter’s name was reported by multiple media outlets; the latter gave his name as Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, and said the Air Force court martial occurred only three years ago. Although the motive was not yet clear, the gunman’s background included religious school work.
1. THE SHOOTER SHOWED OFF A PHOTO OF A RIFLE ON FACEBOOK & TAUGHT BIBLE SCHOOL
Kelley’s Facebook page has now been deleted. His profile picture showed two small children. According to The Daily Beast, “Kelley was married and Kelley’s mother-in-law listed a P.O. box in Sutherland Springs as a mailing address. San Antonio police reportedly raided Kelley’s home on Sunday evening…he briefly taught at a summer Bible school.”
His LinkedIn page says that he was a VBS “teacher aid (sic)” for “VBS AT KINGSVILLE FBC” and notes, “Dates volunteered Jun 2013 – Jun 2013 Volunteer duration 1 mo. Cause Children. Teaching children ages 4-6 at vocational bible schools helping their minds grow and prosper.” However, multiple children are reportedly among those shot in the church.
2. The Gunman, Who Is From Comal County, Once Wrote That He Lived By the Air Force’s ‘Core Values’
A LinkedIn page in the shooter’s name shows that Devin Kelley served in the U.S. Air Force “from his 2009 high-school graduation until 2013,” The Daily Beast reported. According to The New York Times, Kelley is from Comal County, which is not the county where the church is located. His motive and why he targeted the Wilson County church is not clear. Comal County is located northeast of San Antonio, Texas. The gunman is 26-years-old, The Times reported. The Daily Beast reported that Kelley was a “resident of New Braunfels, a suburb of San Antonio.”
The LinkedIn page says, under the entry for U.S. Air Force, “Cargo, demand and supply , distribution.” He added, “Basic learning on my contracted job.” The page says he attended New Braunfels High School from 2003 to 2009, receiving his diploma. His LinkedIn page also says, “I am a hardworking dedicated person. I live by the core values on which the Air Force go by.”
However, CBS News reported that the suspect is former “US Air Force E1 (2010-2014) He received a dishonorable discharge He was court martialed in May 2014.”
3. WITNESSES SAID THE SHOOTER WAS IN ‘FULL GEAR’ WHEN HE WALKED INTO THE CHURCH
Some details were emerging from reporters at the scene, and they agreed on this: A male suspect walked into the church and opened fire. “A man in full gear came into the church and unloaded several rounds, and then took off in a vehicle,” a KSAT-TV reporter said in a live report on Facebook Live. The FBI was at the scene after the tragedy unfolded. It was later reported that Kelley might have been wearing combat gear.
Although authorities had not provided specific details yet on the mass shooting reports because they were busy responding to the chaotic scene, people on Twitter and Facebook wrote within minutes that a man, possibly with an assault rifle, had shot multiple people. People posted frantic messages on social media about loved ones. Witnesses reported that the man walked into the church around 11:30 a.m. Sunday and opened fire, KSAT-TV reported, adding, “The church is located in the 500 block of 4th Street in the small, south Texas town about 40 miles east of San Antonio.” (Recent population figures said the town has only 362 people.) Assault rifle reports, which are not yet confirmed, originated on social media. “Oh my God if you live in Sutherland Springs or Wilson County please go inside and stay safe. My family just called me freaking out because across the street from their house a guy with an assault rifle started shooting in our town church and even shot my brothers house. If ur from my hometown go inside, lock ur doors and so be safe and I love you all,” wrote one woman on Facebook.
4. MULTIPLE CHILDREN WERE AMONG THE VICTIMS
Horrifically, early reports say that a small toddler is among the victims. “A witness at the scene reported a 2-year-old was also shot,” reported KENS5. The child’s condition was not clear. There was no official word on the number of casualties.
Another man said that people he knew were inside the church. He wrote on Facebook, “Just got a call from (named removed) prayers needed for Sutherland Springs community. Someone went into the Baptist Church and shot 15 people. The guy is one the run and they have the roads closed down. (Names removed) were at their church in LaVernia. Please keep prayers going.”
5. PEOPLE WROTE FRIGHTENED MESSAGES ON SOCIAL MEDIA AS NEWS OF THE SHOOTING BROKE
The news of the shooting broke first on social media as citizens with instant access to a national audience reported that their loved ones were in peril or had witnessed aspects of the shooting or its aftermath.“I’m hearing there was a shooting at the First Baptist Church on 539 near Hartfield Rd in the Sutherland Springs area. Lots of sheriff’s deputies on scene, blocking traffic.
EMS from all over Wilson County have been called in. Multiple victims,” one social media user wrote. Another man wrote on Facebook, “A bunch of people have been shot in Sutherland springs . The church and gas station people walked in and started shooting so far herd 15 dead maybe more.”