Police officers held a press conference this Monday after Sunday’s “largest mass shooting” that has ever taken place in Texas’ history, as the Gov. Greg Abbott dubbed it. Authorities said that the reasons why the gunman opened fire at a Sutherland Springs church — causing 26 deaths — wasn’t racial or religious. Instead, it was a “domestic situation.”
One of those the man killed was his grandmother-in-law, as multiple friends of her confirmed.
Freeman Martin, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said during the Monday morning press conference that the suspect had previously threatened through texts his mother-in-law, who often attended the First Baptist Church. However, he said that authorities couldn’t go into details about the domestic situation “that is continuing to be vetted and thoroughly investigated.”
Not even the previous threats he texted to his mother-in-law can compare to the results the gunman provoked yesterday in the church. He left pools of innocent people’s blood on the floor of the establishment, and hundreds of people shocked across the state and the country.
The man’s mother-in-law, who had seen his threats on Sunday morning, was not in the church at the moment of the attack.
The youngest person he killed was a 17-month-old girl, her family said. The oldest was 77 years old, as Martin said.
The killer’s grandmother-in-law Lula White, who was the grandmother of Kelley’s wife, used to attend as a volunteer at the church — as her friends and Facebook profile said.
Lula’s friends and family decided not to speak to the media about her death for now, although some of them have posted photos and their best wishes on social media.
Everything was very confusing after the Sunday gunshot: nobody knew what was going on and why the man had started shooting into the church. However, the county sheriff clarified some things today, saying that the 26-year-old assassin was called Devin P. Kelley and that he had died after his car crashed.
Kelly seemed suspicious since before the attack
Kelly had legally purchased the gun he used in the mass shooting, a Ruger AR-556 rifle, in April 2016 from an Academy Sports + Outdoors store in San Antonio.
People who saw Kelly before the shooting at a gas station later said that he seemed “obviously suspicious” because he was wearing “all black,” according to Martin. He was also wearing a ballistic vest with a plate on the front, and a black mask with a white-skull printed on it. However, the witnesses didn’t say if they saw the man wearing that same mask at the gas station.
Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt said that “nearly everyone had some type of injury.” Ten of the twenty wounded are still in critical conditions. Those who did not suffer any physical wound are extremely shocked for having lived such a terrible situation.
When Kelly left the church, he was confronted and shot by an armed citizen. The killer then called his father and told him that he didn’t believe he was going to survive. Then, he proceeded to shoot himself.
It’s still unclear if Kelly died due to the citizen’s or his shot. However, police found evidence at the scene that makes them think the killer “may have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” as Martin explained.