SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas – Dishonoured US Air Force man and ex-bible teacher Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, opened fire on parishioners at a Sunday service in a small Baptist church in rural Texas, killing at least 26 people, including the 14-year-old daughter of the pastor in charge.
Kelly who was dishonourably discharged from the US Air Force for assaulting his wife and child, wore all black, with a ballistic vest strapped to his chest and a military-style rifle in his hands when he massacred the worshippers in their beautiful white church.
Kelley started firing at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs not long after the Sunday morning service began at 11 am, local law officials said. He was armed with a Ruger military-style rifle, and within minutes, many of those inside the small church were either dead or wounded. The victims ranged in age from 5 to 72, and among the dead were several children, a pregnant woman and the pastor’s 14-year-old daughter. It was the deadliest mass shooting in the state’s history. At least 20 more were wounded.
Kelley’s assault on the innocent parishioners didn’t stop until an armed neighbour who wasn’t in the church exchanged gunfire with him and hit him. Kelly fled in his vehicle, chased hotly by neighbours into the next county, Guadalupe County, where he crashed his car and was found dead in it, probably killed by the unnamed pursuer.
He was found dead by cops who also discovered multiple weapons and possible explosives in his vehicle. San Antonio police also raided Kelley’s home on Sunday evening, with K9 and bomb squad units.
Kelley had recently posted a photo of an AR-15 style gun on his Facebook page with the caption: ‘She’s a bad bitch.’
He had worked in logistics and supply in the US Air Force until he was court-martialled and dishonourably discharged in May 2014. He then volunteered as a bible study teacher at Kingsville First Baptist Church.
Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez Jr told CNN that at least 27 people – including the shooter- have been killed in the shooting, but the death toll is expected to climb.
Victims include a two-year-old girl, a pregnant woman and Annabelle, the 14-year-old daughter of the pastor, Frank Pomeroy and his wife, Sherri. [Sources: New York Times, Mail Online, CNN, CBS News]