[NOTE: This is a developing story. Updates will be added as more official details emerge.]
UPDATE: Law enforcement officials now say that the Texas church shooter may have experienced domestic issues that could have motivated him to attack the parish.
NPR has reported that what officials call a “domestic situation” may have prompted the shooting, not religious or political inclinations.
Prior to the deadly attack, 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley had sent a string of threatening text messages to his mother-in-law. Since she’s a parishioner at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, officials say the man may have opened fire at churchgoers due to the problems he was having with her.
Still, not all victims have been named. And it’s still too early for officials to confirm or rule out that personal domestic problems may have led to this tragic incident.
A gunman allegedly opened fire at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 people and injuring more than 20.
The suspected shooter has been identified as Devin Patrick Kelley, a 26-year-old white male.
Here's what's known about him so far.
Kelley is from New Braunfels, Texas. He served in the Air Force, according to official records. Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokeswoman told The Guardian that Kelley joined Logistics Readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico in 2010.
However, he was court-martialed in 2012 for allegedly assaulting his wife and child, according to The Associated Press. Two years later, he received a bad conduct discharge.
The gunman recently posted a photo of what appeared to be an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle on a Facebook page, purportedly belonging to Kelley, calling it a “bad b***h.”
A LinkedIn account, which also appears to be Kelley's, states he joined the U.S. Air Force after graduating New Braunfels High School in 2009.
As to his religious background, some social media rumors suggest he was an atheist. While Kelley’s Facebook page showed he had liked pages devoted to atheism, there is no confirmation that he was a proponent of the belief. Some sources also suggest he was a former Bible study teacher.
A few months ago, the Los Angeles Times reports, Kelley started making friends on Facebook with people living "within 20 minutes" of Sutherland Springs.
Johnathan Castillo, a resident of the area and one of Kelley's Facebook friends, told the Times that people recently started unfriending Kelley for “starting drama,” including “sending insulting Facebook messages.”
The motive of the shooting is unclear and currently under investigation.
“I want to thank law enforcement for their response and ask that all Texans pray for the Sutherland Springs community during this time of mourning and loss," said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott while addressing the media at the scene of the crime.
Thumbnail Credits: Reuters