When Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire inside the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Sunday he left 26 people dead, including a child and a pregnant woman. An additional 20 people were injured in the mass shooting, and 10 remain in critical condition.
Now, authorities have confirmed that Kelley had a history of domestic abuse. Previously a member of the United States Air Force, he was discharged for misconduct after assaulting his partner and child in 2012. Kelley also had a poor relationship with his wife’s family and sent threatening text messages to his mother-in-law – who attended the church – prior to the attack.
Kelley died from a gunshot wound after a brief car chase with a police officer and armed bystander. It is believed the fatal shot was self-inflicted.
As calls for increased gun control grow in the wake of the incident, President Donald Trump has added fuel to the fire by saying what happened “isn’t a guns situation” but rather “a mental health problem at the highest level”, NBC News reports. He called the shooter a “very deranged individual” who had “a lot of problems over a long period of time”, and rejected the argument that guns were an issue, adding that the situation “would have been much worse” had the armed local man who confronted Kelley not been present.
Former President Barack Obama took to Twitter to share his sadness over the tragic event. “We grieve with all the families in Sutherland Springs harmed by this act of hatred, and we’ll stand with the survivors as they recover”, he wrote.