Devin Kelley attended Texas church's fall festival 5 days before shooting


Just five days before gunman Devin Kelley shot and killed 26 people, he reportedly appeared at a fall festival at the very same church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

>> Survivors recount horror of Texas church shooting: 'He shot anyone who got in the way'

The Houston Chronicle is reporting that Kelley appeared at the First Baptist Church for an annual festival, an appearance that surprised churchgoers who knew about a “domestic situation” believed to have been behind the shooting.

photo album of the festival was posted on the church’s Facebook page.

Posted by First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas on Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The church community was not only surprised that Kelley was there but also saw this as a turning point for him, the Chronicle reported.

“This church is very loving, nonjudgmental and if he had had concerns or issues and spoken with the clergy — they’re nonjudgmental,” Tambria Read told the Chronicle. “They would have helped him deal with his issues and helped him try to get focused.”

>> Texas church shooting: Why federal law should have stopped Devin Kelley from buying guns

The news outlet reported that Read is friends with Kelley’s mother-in-law, whom he was reportedly targeting Sunday but who wasn’t at the church.

Earlier on Tuesday, it was revealed that Kelley escaped from a mental hospital in 2012.

He escaped from a mental health center in New Mexico and got in trouble for bringing guns onto a military base and threatening his superiors there, police reports indicate.

Kelley also was named as a suspect in a 2013 sexual assault in his hometown of New Braunfels, about 35 miles from the scene of the church attack.

>> Read more trending news

The records add up to at least three missed opportunities that might have offered law enforcement a way to stop Kelley from having access to guns long before he slaughtered much of the congregation in the middle of a Sunday service. Kelley died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he was chased by bystanders and crashed his car.

The Air Force confirmed Tuesday that Kelley had been treated in the facility after he was placed under pretrial confinement stemming from a court-martial on charges that he assaulted his spouse and hit her child hard enough to fracture the boy’s skull.

>> On Rare.us: Texas church shooter escaped from a mental hospital in 2012

Involuntary commitment to a mental institution would have been grounds to deny him a weapon provided that records of his confinement were submitted to the federal database used to conduct background checks on people who try to purchase guns.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Jimmy Carter: What to know about the former president and humanitarian
Jimmy Carter: What to know about the former president and humanitarian

President Jimmy Carter served as the 39th president of the United States, from 1977 to 1981, but before that, he was the 76th governor of Georgia and a member of the Georgia State Senate.  >> Read more trending news  Although he’s had a lengthy career in politics, Carter has  worked as a diplomat and humanitarian. He&rsquo...
Hundreds of children reunited with parents; Trump tweets after Republicans delay immigration vote 
Hundreds of children reunited with parents; Trump tweets after Republicans delay immigration vote 

Republican leaders have delayed a vote on a compromise immigration reform bill until next week, hoping to rally more support for the measure even as President Donald Trump casts doubt on its chances of success. Update 4 p.m. EDT June 22: Officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a notice Friday that said it might seek as many as...
Dog shot multiple times in face adopted by park ranger in Arkansas
Dog shot multiple times in face adopted by park ranger in Arkansas

A dog who survived three gunshots to the face has found a new home with an Arkansas park ranger. Hope, a 4-year-old mixed breed dog, was tied to a pole and shot in the face three times this March, according to KFSM. Hope has scars on her face from where the bullets entered and will need possible mouth surgery in the future, but otherwise her health...
Beltway sniper Lee Boyd Malvo granted new sentencing hearing in Virginia killings
Beltway sniper Lee Boyd Malvo granted new sentencing hearing in Virginia killings

A man who as a teenager participated in a terrifying killing spree that left more than a dozen people dead has been granted a new sentencing hearing in Virginia. Lee Boyd Malvo, now 33, was sentenced in 2004 to life in prison without the possibility of parole for a series of four murders he and John Allen Muhammad committed as the Beltway snipers....
Blue or grey? Color of shingle at center of homeowner fight with association to sell house
Blue or grey? Color of shingle at center of homeowner fight with association to sell house

A Texas homeowner’s association will not let a man sell his house because of the color of the roof shingles.  The Tehama Ridge homeowners association refuses to issue Mike Luna a certificate to sell his home because he did not get approval from them first to alter his roof after a strong storm season, association officials told KXAS...
More Stories