Devin Kelley — the gunman behind Sunday’s mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas — suffered from psychological disorders and escaped a mental health facility in New Mexico in 2012, according to a police report.
El Paso police arrested Kelley at a bus station where he apparently went to try and leave the state. Their report noted that he brought firearms onto the Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico and “was attempting to carry out death threats that [he] had made on his military chain of command,” an ABC affiliate reported on Tuesday.
At the time of his arrest, Kelley faced assault charges after he allegedly beat his wife and stepson.
Authorities identified a domestic dispute as a possible motive after Kelley sent threatening text messages to his mother-in-law and killed his grandmother-in-law in Sunday’s shooting. But Tuesday’s revelation shed new light on the shooter’s background and possible psychological conditions leading up to him killing 26 people at a church on Sunday.
President Donald Trump previously speculated that mental health was a significant factor in Sunday’s shooting. “I think mental health is your problem here,” he said during a press conference on Monday.
The president called Kelley a “very deranged individual,” presumably in reference to reports that assaulted his family. But, Trump said, Sunday’s shooting wasn’t a “guns situation.” On Tuesday, Trump told a reporter that even if the federal government had stricter gun control laws, that wouldn’t have prevented Kelley’s massacre on Sunday.
It’s unclear how exactly Kelley obtained the AR-556 he used to mow down churchgoers, but the U.S. Air Force reportedly failed to inform the FBI of his criminal record, something that would have precluded him from purchasing that gun.