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  HOME | USA

Texas Gunman Had Escaped from Mental Institution after Abusing Wife, Son

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas – Devin Kelley, the gunman who killed 26 people and wounded 20 others at a Texas church on the weekend, escaped from a New Mexico mental clinic in 2012, months after physically abusing his first wife and their son, according to a report by the El Paso Police Department.

Kelley was shot twice by a local resident as he was fleeing the scene and later killed himself with a gunshot to the head.

The police documents, released on Tuesday by Houston’s Channel 2, show that Kelley was arrested at a bus terminal in downtown El Paso after escaping from the Peak Behavioral Health Services clinic in Santa Teresa, New Mexico.

Kelley at the time was 21 and “suffered from mental disorders,” according to a witness whose testimony was included in the report.

The witness also said that he “was a danger to himself and others,” according to the report.

Police were alerted after Kelley’s escape. He had bought a bus ticket to travel out of state and was “attempting to carry out death threats” he had made against several unidentified military officers, who were his superiors.

The report also said that Kelley was found to be hiding weapons at New Mexico’s Holloman Air Force Base, where he was stationed, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) from the bus terminal where police apprehended him.

The incident was entered into the FBI’s national criminal database, the document said, and came five months before he was accused of mistreating his son and his first wife, Tessa K. Kelley, on several occasions between April and June 2011.

Tessa Kelley reported the abuse to the local authorities in 2012.

Kelley, who had joined the Air Force in 2010, opted to be court-martialed for mistreating his family and spent 12 months under arrest, was reduced in rank and, ultimately, expelled from the military for bad conduct.

Last Sunday, Kelley was shot twice – in the chest and leg – by Stephen Willeford, a resident of Sutherland Springs, Texas, after killing and wounding dozens of people inside the First Baptist Church there.

Kelley, who had a record of domestic abuse and mistreatment of animals, committed suicide after fleeing the scene of the massacre while being pursued down the highway for several minutes by Willeford and another resident, Johnnie Langendorff, who was driving his truck near the church when the gunfire erupted.

Kelley slaughtered many in the church congregation with a semiautomatic Ruger AR assault rifle while dressed all in black and wearing a bulletproof vest.

Sutherland Springs is a heretofore quiet town of some 500 residents about 45 kilometers (28 miles) southeast of San Antonio.

 

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