Tragedy in Texas: What We Know


Bridget Kane, Features/Humans of SJV Editor, Writer

On Nov. 5, a gunman named Devin Kelley carried out the largest shooting in Texas history, opening fire in the First Baptist Church located in Sutherland Springs. This attack resulted in the death of more than 26 people, including an unborn child, and injured at least 10. After four days of grieving and searching for clues, investigators uncovered more about Kelley’s past, and secrets about his life have began to unfold.

Looking deeper into the perpetrator’s past, his early life was filled with warning signs.  According to his public records and people who knew him, he was accused of animal abuse and domestic violence. Kelley was also convicted for beating his now ex-wife and stepson, along with other threats against his family. Mental health concerns also surrounded his past.

Kelley’s social media pages were filled with fascination about mass shootings. In fact, his high school classmate, Christopher Leo Longoria, told CNN that “he [Kelley] spent time posting anti-God and pro-gun statements,” and his Facebook posts were “a ridiculous amount of nonsense.” Kelley’s Facebook page has since been taken down and is no longer viewable by the public, but people have confirmed that the statements from Longoria are true.

From 2010 to 2012, Kelley served in the Air Force, and in 2012, he managed to escape a mental health facility. According to official military documents, when officers were called to look for Kelley, they were told that he had snuck firearms into the Holloman Air Force Base, and reportedly threatened his commanders. He was then put in jail, then dishonorably discharged from the military in 2014.

According to The Washington Post, Kelley also worked in the HEB grocery chain for two months in 2013, but then quit, with his position being unknown. He also worked as an unarmed night guard at a water park in New Braunfels. Though he was able to pass a criminal background check implied by Texas Department of Public Safety, he was fired in July because “he was not a good fit,” according to a spokeswoman.

According to authorities and investigators, among the 26 people killed was a pregnant woman and her unborn child. He also injured another 20 people, 10 of which are still in critical condition. Investigators are not completely sure of the motives of Kelley, but it is believed that he was angry with his family who goes to the church, though they were not present when he opened fire. It is also said that Kelley attended a fall festival, a family event in which people were dressed up for Halloween, at the church just five days before he undertook this massacre.

After the shots ended, Kelley went into his car and drove away with a local man, armed with a rifle, and the police chasing after him. After driving for eight miles, the gunman crashed his car, and was found dead from a self inflicted gunshot wound.

Although faith sometimes seems lost, we can always pray, so please pray for Texas and the families affected, because there is nothing stronger than prayer and hope.