Church Shooter Escaped Mental Health Facility After Attack On Wife And Child
Details are coming to light about the disturbing past of Texas church shooter Devin Kelly. In 2012 Kelley was sent to Peak Behavioral Health Services facility in El Paso as he was deemed a danger to himself and others after being caught smuggling a cache of firearms onto Holloman Air Base in New Mexico. He was reportedly attempting to carry out death threats against his military superiors.
Kelley escaped the mental health facility after only a few days according to Pentagon officials. It was reported by the facility that Kelley had expressed his plans to escape the hospital and grab a bus to get out of state. Police officers went to the downtown bus terminal on the evening of June 13, 2012 to look for the now fugitive Kelley. The responding officers were warned about his mental disorders and his plans.
Kelly was located and detained at the bus terminal by officers and they reported that he did not resist arrest nor make any comments that would lead them to believe he had immediate intentions to harm himself or others.
Other patients at the facility reported that Kelley was seemingly using the computers there suspiciously. Normally the computers are only used for allowing patients to do things like paying bills online. Upon further investigation of the computer that Kelley was using, it is reported that they discovered he was ordering weapons, tactical gear and magazines to a P.O. Box.
After Kelley's stint in the mental hospital he was court-martialed, sentenced to 12 months in military prison and given a bad conduct discharge from the military.
The chain of events in 2012 was sparked by Kelley assaulting his wife and stepson over the course of two months in 2011. The young stepson suffered a fracture skull during one of the assaults.
The escape of the mental care facility was entered into the FBI's National Crime Information Center database. Apparently this was not enough. Reports indicate that the military may have failed to enter Kelley into a local database that documents domestic violence and would have explicitly prevented him from purchasing firearms.
There were still other incidents that could have, or should have, raised flags. Kelley was also reported in 2013 of committing an alleged sexual assault in Kelley's hometown of New Braunfels, TX. Authorities who investigated the case said it ended up being inconclusive and the efforts to continue investigating the matter "just kind of stalled out."
A few months later, police received a report of abuse from a woman inside his home who had texted her friend saying she was being abused. The woman, thought to be his girlfriend and the time and ultimately his future second wife, told authorities that she had sent the texts, but denied being abused. Police believed her story and no charges were pursued.
These earlier incidents have sparked debate over whether Kelley's violent and documented past should have raised flags causing authorities to disallow him to purchase weapons long before he had a chance to carry out the church massacre at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Sheriff Mark Reynolds said that his office is trying to piece together all of this information to figure out why someone, at any point, did not put two and two together. Sheriff Reynolds is the current sheriff of Comal County, TX, of which Kelley's hometown of New Braunfels is located