On November 5th, 2017 a deranged man with “a lot of demons” by the account of his ex wife, walked into First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and murdered twenty six people in cold blood during a contemporary Sunday service. The perpetrator was a man by the name of Devin Patrick Kelley. Kelley was twenty six years old, and this was not his first crime to commit. In 2012, Kelley was found guilty of domestic violence in a court-martial. He should never have been able to purchase a firearm because those who commit violent crimes are banned from owning one. However, the Air Force failed to report his conviction to the FBI Crime Information Database, which would’ve made it impossible for Kelley to acquire a firearm. The Air Force has since launched an investigative review into how these crimes are reported to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.
Kelley also had a history of Mental Health issues. In June 2012, before his domestic abuse conviction, he escaped from Peak Behavioral Health Services and ordered weapons and tactical gear to a P.O box in San Antonio. According to Tessa Brennaman, his ex wife, he once threatened her life after she got a speeding ticket. He pointed a gun at her and told her that he would kill her whole family and her. This was not an isolated instance of abuse. Tessa said that she lived in “constant fear” of Devin, and that he was constantly abusing her and the whole family.
On the day of the shooting, Devin loaded his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, grabbed many extra magazines, put on a tactical vest and mask with a skull on it, and made his way to the church. Upon arriving at the church, Devin parked at a little gas station across the street. As soon as he exited the vehicle he began firing at the church while walking towards it. Once Devin walked in the door, he yelled “everybody dies motherfuckers” and began walking down the aisle, systematically shooting everyone in the pews. He had no discrepancy about who he was shooting- an 18 month old baby was shot and killed. When he left the church he was attacked by a local resident who was taking cover close by. The resident managed to hit Kelley twice in the gut. Kelley dropped his rifle and continued to run back to his vehicle. A high speed chase would ensue in the coming minutes, driving over ninety five miles per hour. Kelley called his father to tell him that he loved him and that he thought he wouldn’t survive. While on the phone, he lost control of the vehicle, hitting a road sign and flipping over into a ditch. when the police approached the driver’s side window, the immediately noticed that he was completely motionless, with many gunshot wounds including a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Twenty six people were shot to death as twenty more were injured on his rampage, which makes this instance the deadliest single mass shooting in Texas ever. Two pregnant women, children, and many others are now dead for absolutely no reason. It’s unfair that these lives have been destroyed by a man who should’ve never been allowed to own a gun in the first place.