Officials investigating the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Tex. that killed 26 people described it as a “domestic situation,” shedding light on a possible motive for the tragedy.
“The suspect’s mother-in-law attended this church,” Freeman Martin, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Monday at a news conference. “We know that he had made threatening texts, and we can’t go into detail into that domestic situation that is continuing to be vetted and thoroughly investigated.”
“This was not racially motivated, it wasn’t over religious beliefs, it was a domestic situation going on,” Martin continued.
Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire at the First Baptist Church during services on Sunday. The victims included a child as young as 18 months, a pregnant woman, and a 77 year-old. Dozens were also wounded.
Martin explained that Kelley’s in-laws were out of town at the time of the shooting.
A local resident managed to wound Kelley in a firefight after the rampage. Kelley then fled and crashed into a fence and died on the scene. Officials said Kelley shot himself, but it was unclear if that was the cause of death.
Kelley, who was discharged from the Air Force for bad conduct in 2014, had a history of domestic abuse. In 2012, he was convicted by court-martial and served time for “assault on his spouse and assault on their child,” an Air Force spokesperson told the New York Times. He was divorced from his first wife and remarried Danielle Lee Shields in 2014.