- Devin Patrick Kelley, the gunman who killed 26 people on Sunday at a rural Texas church, escaped from a mental health hospital in 2012, according to a police report. The report also says Kelley made death threats against people on his military chain of command, and a witness expressed concern that he would attempt to carry them out. Kelley was sent to the facility after he was charged in a military court with assaulting his wife and infant stepson. He later pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to a year in a Navy prison.
The gunman who killed 26 when he opened fire on parishioners at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday once escaped from a mental health facility in New Mexico, according to a June 2012 incident report from the El Paso Police Department.
Devin Patrick Kelley fled the Peak Behavioral Health Services hospital, where he was sent after being court-martialed on charges of assaulting his wife and infant stepson. Kelley later pleaded guilty to the charges, spent a year in military prison, and was given a bad conduct discharge.
The incident report, first obtained by local NBC affiliate KPRC, shows that two police officers apprehended Kelley, who was then 21 years old, at a bus terminal in downtown El Paso after being dispatched there for a missing person report.
A witness on the scene told the officers that Kelley “suffered from mental disorders” and had planned to flee the hospital and take a bus out of state. The witness added that Kelley “was a danger to himself and others” and had already been caught sneaking firearms onto the Holloman Airforce base, and had made death threats against his military superiors, according to the report.
When the officers took Kelley into custody, he did not resist or make further comments about harming himself or others, the report said.
Investigators are still trying to determine Kelley’s motive for the shooting in Sutherland Springs, though they seem to have ruled out racial or religious animus. The FBI told reporters on Tuesday they have been unable to get into his cellphone, which they believe may hold clues.