Devin Patrick Kelley had a history of domestic turmoil. It was the reason he’d been court-martialed, served time and discharged from the Air Force. And it was apparently yet another “domestic situation” that sparked yesterday’s mass murder and a Sutherland Springs, Texas church.
According to the Washington Post,
The massacre here that killed more than two dozen people, the youngest an 18-month-old toddler, occurred amid an ongoing “domestic situation” involving the gunman and his relatives, at least one of whom had attended the church, law enforcement officials said Monday.
While authorities have not publicly identified a motive for the attack, they emphasized that the shooting did not appear to be fueled by racial or religious issues. Instead, they said he had sent “threatening texts” to his mother-in-law as part of this ongoing dispute. She had attended the church, though she was not there Sunday when the shooting occurred, officials said.
So Kelley didn’t simply “go crazy.” He didn’t “snap,” deciding to embark on Texas’ worst mass murder. Yesterday’s massacre was something that had been brewing for a very long time.
Again, because of Kelley’s conviction on domestic violence charges and his incarceration while in the Air Force, he was a “prohibited person.” He couldn’t legally own or purchase a firearm. Yet he’d bought the Ruger AR-15 he used yesterday from an FFL, Academy Sports, and, while probably lying on the required form 4473, he somehow passed the NICS background check.
In fact, he apparently passed more than one:
Three guns were recovered Sunday, according to authorities: A Ruger rifle and two handguns, one a Glock and another a Ruger, inside Kelley’s vehicle. He had purchased a total of four guns during each of the last four years, officials said.
Precisely how Kelley obtained his guns remained a key question for investigators. Kelley had been court-martialed in 2012 and sentenced to a year in military prison for assaulting his spouse and child, making him the latest mass attacker or suspect with domestic violence in his past. He was reduced in rank and released with a bad-conduct discharge in 2014.
Exactly how he passed those federal background checks — when the state of Texas had enough information to deny his application for a license to carry a concealed weapon — is a question the FBI is no doubt working very hard to answer.