Those who knew Devin Kelley were not entirely shocked to learn he had shot up a church and killed 26 people on Sunday.
Years before the 26-year-old stormed into a Texas church with a military-style rifle and went on a mass shooting rampage, he was convicted of assaulting his wife and breaking his infant stepson’s skull.
While stationed at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico in 2012, Kelley was charged with “assault on his spouse and assault on their child.” Don Christensen, a retired colonel who prosecuted Kelley for the Air Force, told the New York Times:
“He assaulted his stepson severely enough that he fractured his skull, and he also assaulted his wife. He pled to intentionally doing it.”
After 12 months confinement, the self-proclaimed atheist was discharged from the military with a bad conduct discharge, which kicked off a downward spiral that included divorce and an animal cruelty charge.
On Sunday, Kelley appeared to get revenge on his second wife Danielle and a faith he professed to loathe when he killed 26 people and injured 20 others at the First Baptist Church.
Among those Kelley killed in the church was own grandmother-in-law Lula Woincinski White (pictured above). Kelley’s other in-laws and second wife were also members of the church, but not present during the day of the massacre.
On Monday, Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt told reporters that 12 to 14 of the people killed were kids. Releasing the identity of more victims, officials confirmed Marc Daniel Holcombe and his 18-month-old daughter Noah were killed.
After the shooting on Sunday, friends from Kelley’s high school took to Facebook to speak about the tragedy. While most remembered him as an awkward but friendly teenager, many admitted hearing the news wasn’t surprising — since, in recent years, Kelley grew so dark that many unfriended him on the social media site.
Longtime friend Courtney Kleiber shared on Sunday:
“I had always known there was something off about him. But he wasn’t always a ‘psychopath’ though… [He was] happy at one point, normal, your average kid. We had a lot of good times together. Over the years we all saw him change into something that he wasn’t. To be completely honest, I’m really not surprised this happened, and I don’t think anyone who knew him is very surprised either.”
Sending love and light to everyone in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
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