The gunman who killed more than 20 people in a Texas church shooting Sunday morning was a former airman who was court-martialed and discharged for assaulting his wife and their child.
In an email, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said that Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, was court-martialed in 2012 for two counts of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice’s Article 128, which deals with assault.
Kelley, who joined the Air Force in 2010 and served in logistics readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, was confined for 12 months and reduced in rank to E-1, or airman basic, the lowest rank an airman can have. He received a bad conduct discharge in 2014.
A U.S. official says Kelly lived in a suburb of San Antonio and that he doesn’t appear to be linked to organized terrorist groups. The official says investigators are looking at social media posts Kelley may have made in the days before Sunday’s attack, including one that appeared to show an AR-15 semiautomatic weapon.
Authorities say Kelley walked into the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs and opened fire, killing more than 20 people and wounding at least 10 others.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says 26 people were killed in the attack and that it was the deadliest mass shooting in the state’s history.
Abbott’s remarks came during a news conference Sunday evening, hours after the attack on the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a community 30 miles southeast of San Antonio.
The victims ranged in age from 5 to 72 years old.
SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas — A man opened fire inside of a church in a small South Texas community on Sunday, killing more than 20 people and wounding at least 10 others before being killed or killing himself, authorities said.
The exact number of victims in the attack at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs wasn’t immediately known. But a law enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press that more than 20 people were killed and between 10 and 15 others were wounded, though the official stressed that the investigation was in its early stages and the figures could change.
The official said the gunman fled in a vehicle after the attack and was killed, either by a self-inflicted wound or during a confrontation with police. The official was not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation and spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity.
Federal law enforcement swarmed the small community 30 miles southeast of San Antonio after the attack to offer assistance, including ATF investigators and members of the FBI’s evidence collection team.
The wounded were taken to hospitals. Video on KSAT television showed first responders taking a stretcher from the church to a waiting AirLife helicopter. Some victims were taken by medical helicopter to the Brooke Army Medical Center, the station said.
Megan Posey, a spokeswoman for Connally Memorial Medical Center, which is in Floresville and about 10 miles from the church, said “multiple” victims were being treated for gunshot wounds. She declined to give a specific number but said it was less than a dozen.
The church is a white, wood-framed building with a double-door at the entrance and a Texas flag on a pole at the front area, according to its website, which was down shortly after the shooting. The website says the church schedule was for a fellowship breakfast on Sunday mornings, followed by Sunday School. A morning worship service was scheduled for 11 a.m. The first news reports of the shooting were between noon and 12:30 p.m.
A woman who lives about 10 minutes away from Sutherland Springs in Floresville and was monitoring the chaos on a police scanner and in Facebook community groups, said that everyone knows everyone in the sparsely populated county.
“This is horrific for our tiny little tight-knit town,” said Alena Berlanga. “Everybody’s going to be affected and everybody knows someone who’s affected,” she said.
President Donald Trump tweeted from Japan, where is his on an Asian trip, that he was monitoring the situation following the shooting. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the shooting an “evil act,” and promised “more details” from the state’s Department of Public Safety soon.
Sutherland Springs is 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of San Antonio.
Associated Press writer Sadie Gurman in Washington contributed to this report.
This version of the story corrects the spelling of the sheriff’s last name to Tackitt from Tackett.
Senior reporters Stephen Losey and Jeff Schogol contributed to this report.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.