10 Concerning Facts About The Texas Church Gunman Who Broke Infant Stepson's Skull In 2012 Domestic Violence Attack

Devin Patrick Kelley Texas Gunman
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Half of his victims were children.

While the congregation at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas gathered together to worship on Sunday morning, a lone gunman opened fire, killing 26 people and injuring 20 more. 

Of those dead, 23 died in the church, two were killed outside and another victim was transported to a hospital and died, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. The victims range from as young as 18 months to as old as 72. Half of the victims were children and the majority of the people shot are being treated at the hospital are in stable condition and expected to survive. 

“It’s just a horrific sight,” said Sheriff Joe Tackitt of Wilson County. “You don’t expect to walk into a church and see something like that, especially when all the bodies were there, and seeing the children. That’s what hurts the most.” 

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Police have identified the suspect as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley of New Braunfels, Texas. He was found dead in his car after he was chased in his SUV by Johnnie Langendorff, by two local men armed with rifles who just happened to be nearby. 

“It was more see and do,” Langendorff said. “Act now, ask questions later.”

After a few minutes of chasing Kelley's vehicle at high speeds, the shooter's car crashed into a ditch about 11 miles north of the church. Langendorff and his armed passenger pulled the truck over. 

“The gentleman that was with me got out, rested his rifle on my hood and kept it aimed at him, telling him to get out, get out. There was no movement, there was none of that. I just know his brake lights were going on and off, so he might have been unconscious from the crash or something like that, I’m not sure.

Police arrived on the scene within seven minutes and found Kelley dead. His cause of death and motive for the shooting are still unclear. 

Here's what we currently know about Kelley, the Texas gunman, including new background about his domestic violence conviction in 2012 for breaking infant stepson's skull: 

1. He was dressed in black and wore a ballistic vest during the shooting. 

Kelley was dressed in all black and wore a ballistic vest when he entered the church. He used a Ruger AR assault-type rifle, and police found multiple weapons in his car. 

2. His in-laws attended the church. 

BBC

Kelley's in-laws occasionally attended First Baptist church, but they were in attendance at the time of the massacre. They did come to the church after hearing about the shooting. 

3. He was dishonorably discharged from the Air Force. 

Kelley served in the 49th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico until he was discharged in 2010. He was court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his wife and their child. 

He was released from the military on a bad-conduct discharge after he was confined for a year. 

4. The shooting took place on the anniversary of the Fort Hood shooting. 

Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general, made a point to mention that the shooting was on the eighth-year anniversary of the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas which killed 13 people and wounded 32. 

Paxton wondered out loud if there was any connection between the shootings. 

"It’s just strange to me that it happened on the same day and in the same state," he said.

5. He was denied a gun permit. 

Police say they're not sure how Kelley got the gun because he was denied a gun permit by the state of Texas. He shouldn't have legally been allowed to own a firearm. 

His Facebook page, before it was deleted, showed a photo of an assault rifle with the following Mark Twain quote:

"I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."

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6. He has two children. 

The profile photo on his Facebook page was him with his two small children, and his LinkedIn page, which has not been deleted, lists causes he cares about as "animal welfare, arts, culture, children and civil rights.

He described himself as a "hard-working, dedicated person."

7. He was once charged with being cruel to animals. 

In August of 2014, he was charged with mistreating, neglecting or being cruel to animals. It's not clear what the incident was, but the case was eventually dismissed.

8. Friends of Kelley said he hated religious people.  

Friends have told reporters that Kelley "hated religious people," and former classmates described him as a "creepy, crazy outcast." They said he recently started preaching about atheism and liked to pick fights on social media. 

"I legit just deleted him off my fb cause I couldn’t stand his post," a former classmate named Nina Rose Nava wrote. "He was always talking about how people who believe in God we’re stupid and trying to preach his atheism. Smh.” 

Ironically, Kelley taught Bible classes a few years ago. 

9. Neighbors said they heard him firing his rifle at night.

Kelley reportedly lived in a "barndominium" on a wooded property behind a cattle guard. 

“Nothing abnormal," said his neighbor, Mark Moravitz. "Regular guy. I mean, the only thing unusual across the street is we hear a lot of gunfire, a lot of times at night. We hear gunfire a lot, but we’re out in the country.” 

His parents' home is reportedly worth $1 million. 

10. There was a domestic situation involving his family. 

Police confirmed on Monday morning that there was a "domestic situation" between Kelley and his family, which included threats he made toward his mother-in-law. It was confirmed later in the day that he was convicted in 2012 of assaulting his wife and breaking his infant stepson’s skull. 

“He assaulted his stepson severely enough that he fractured his skull, and he also assaulted his wife,” revealed Don Christensen, the chief prosecutor and retired colonel for the Air Force. “He pled to intentionally doing it.”

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Emily Blackwood is an editor at YourTango who covers pop culture, true crime, dating, relationships and everything in between. Every Wednesday at 10:20 p.m. you can ask her any and all questions about self-love, dating, and relationships LIVE on YourTango’s Facebook page. You can follow her on Instagram (@blackw00d) and Twitter (@emztweetz). 

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