Texas Gunman Not Welcomed at Church Before Shooting

CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 11/8/2017, 6:59 a.m.
Devin Kelley walked into a Texas church turning joyous prayers into screams of terror as he killed more than 20 ...
Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, of New Braunfels, Texas, is accused of killing 26 people, and injuring more after opening fire at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

By Nicole Chavez, CNN

(CNN) -- Devin Kelley walked into a Texas church turning joyous prayers into screams of terror as he killed more than 20 people.

Four days after the shooting, investigators continue looking into Kelley's past and motive as people in the small town of Sutherland Springs are trying to cope with the tragedy.

At least 10 people who survived the carnage remain hospitalized in critical condition. Other survivors along with members of this close-knit community comforted each other and gathered at a memorial of crosses near the First Baptist Church.

"It was something that I don't want to think about anymore," said Rosanne Solis, one of the worshipers who survived the shooting. "It's always going to be there."

Kelley carried out the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history on Sunday, but records show his violent behavior could have begun years ago.

Latest developments

  • Kelley escaped from a New Mexico mental health facility in 2012 after sneaking guns onto an Air Force base and making threats against commanders, according to a police report.
  • The FBI has the shooter's cellphone, but has not yet accessed its content due to encryption, said Christopher Combs, FBI special agent in charge.
  • Husband and wife, Robert and Karen Marshall, were among the 25 people -- and an unborn child -- killed Sunday during the Texas shooting, family members told CNN affiliates WTAE and KDKA.
  • Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, will travel to Sutherland Springs on Wednesday to meet with victims' families, he tweeted.

Warning signs

Kelley had a troubled past and was prone to domestic violence and animal cruelty, according to public records and those who knew him.

During his time in the Air Force, Kelley was involved in "multiple occasions of domestic abuse" against his ex-wife and stepson, said Don Christensen, a retired Air Force colonel.

Kelley was placed into pretrial confinement at a civilian facility in New Mexico to wait for his court martial in 2012 but he managed to escape days later, according to documents from the El Paso Police Department obtained by CNN affiliate KVIA and two Air Force officials.

When officers were called to find Kelley, they were warned that he was a danger to himself and others and that he had sneaked firearms onto Holloman Air Force Base. He had reportedly threatened his commanders, the documents said.

He was ultimately discharged after he pleaded guilty to assault charges, admitting he hit his then-wife and stepson, officials said.

After his release in 2014, he landed in El Paso County, Colorado, where he was arrested on an animal cruelty charge. A neighbor told police he saw Kelley punching a dog, grabbing it by the neck and then dragging the animal. Kelley denied the account and was issued a summons but didn't spend any time in jail.

Kelley's social media suggested a fascination with mass shootings, a law enforcement official said.

He spent time posting anti-God and pro-gun statements, said Christopher Leo Longoria, who attended high school with Kelley.