TEXAS: A gunman dressed in black tactical gear massacred at least 26 worshippers and wounded 20 others at a white-steepled church in Texas on Sunday, carrying out the latest in a series of mass shootings that have plagued the United States.
The suspect’s identity was not disclosed by authorities, but law enforcement officials who asked not to be named said he was Devin Patrick Kelley, described as a white, 26-year-old man, the New York Times and other media reported.
An Air Force official said the man identified by officials to The Associated Press as the gunman in the mass shooting at a Texas church was court-martialed in 2012 and discharged two years later.
Spokesperson Ann Stefanek said that Kelley was court-martialed on one count of assault on his spouse and another count of assault on their child. He received a bad conduct discharge, 12 months’ confinement and a reduction in rank.
Stefanek also said that Kelley served in Logistics Readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his discharge.
Online records also showed that a man named Devon Patrick Kelley lived in New Braunfels, Texas, about 35 miles (56 km) north of Sutherland Springs.
“We don’t think he had any connection to this church,” Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt told CNN. “We have no motive.”
Kelley’s Facebook page has been deleted, but cached photos show a profile picture where he appeared with two small children. He also posted a photo of what appeared to be an assault rifle, writing a post that read: “she’s a bad bitch.”
CHASED AWAY BY RESIDENT:
The lone suspect, also wearing a ballistic vest and carrying a Ruger assault rifle, fired into the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs and kept shooting after he went inside. Sutherland Springs is in Wilson County, about 40 miles (65 km) east of San Antonio.
After the shooting, the gunman was fired on by a local resident with a rifle. The suspect dropped his assault weapon, and fled in his vehicle, said Freeman Martin, regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Soon afterward, the suspect crashed his vehicle near the border of neighbouring Guadalupe County and was found dead inside with a cache of weapons.
The victims ranged in age from 5 to 72 years old, law enforcement officials told a news conference. Among the dead was the 14-year-old daughter of Pastor Frank Pomeroy, the family told several television stations.
Sutherland Springs is in a rural area where communities are small and tight-knit. The area is known for its annual peanut festival in Floresville, which was most recently held last month.