Devin Patrick Kelley: Who was the Texas shooter? | Americas| North and South American news impacting on Europe | DW | 06.11.2017
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Devin Patrick Kelley: Who was the Texas shooter?

US authorities identified the Texas church shooter as the 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, an Air Force veteran discharged for beating his wife and child. He attacked the church where his in-laws were known to worship.

A gunman, identified by police as Devin Patrick Kelley, killed at least 26 people and wounded 20 more in a shooting rampage during a Sunday church service in the Texas town of Sutherland Springs.

Texas officials said he may have been motivated by a domestic dispute, involving the parents of his second wife.

"There was a domestic situation going on within the family and the in-laws," Freeman Martin, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, told reporters. "The mother-in-law attended the church. We know […] that she had received threatening text messages from him."

Police do not believe he had any links with terror groups.

Read more: 8 facts about gun control in the US

Background

The 26-year-old apparently worked as a licensed security guard at a vacation resort in his home town of New Braunfels, outside of San Antonio and some 40 miles (65 km) from the site of the massacre in Sutherland Springs.

Kelley "seemed like a nice guy" and caused no trouble as an employee, his manager Claudia Varjabedian told the AP news agency. 

Yet his school friends described Kelley as troubled and a "bit of a loner." He apparently often posted pro-atheism content on social media.

After the massacre, Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott said there was evidence of Kelley's mental health problems and "violent tendencies." The gunman was also denied a Texas gun permit, he told CBS.

However, Kelley's neighbors reported regularly hearing gunshots from his property. Posts recouped from his deleted Facebook profile show him with an assault rifle and a caption "She is a bad bitch."

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Military service and divorce

Kelley had been a member of US Air Force and served in its Logistics Readiness unit at a New Mexico base between 2010 and 2014. In 2012, he was court-martialed on charges of assaulting his wife and child.

He subsequently received a reduction in rank, a confinement for 12-months and a bad conduct discharge, according to the US military.

His first wife, Tessa, filed for divorce after his conviction. He married his second wife, Danielle Shields in 2014, soon after his discharge from the Air Force.

Legal trouble

Court records show Kelley was charged with animal cruelty in 2014, while he lived with Shields in a mobile home park near Colorado Springs.

According to Denver Post newspaper, someone was granted a protection order against Kelley in January 2015, also in El Paso.

In April 2016, Kelley bought a Ruger assault rifle from a San Antonio store. Police believes he lied about his assault conviction when he filled out the required background check paperwork. Authorities said he owned several firearms, bought in both Colorado and Texas.

dj/rt (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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