Investigators said Monday that a “domestic situation” has likely lead to the rampage by a US Air Force veteran who killed 26 people with an assault rifle in a small-town Texas church.
Ten people remained in critical condition a day after Devin Patrick Kelley, a 26-year-old private security guard, burst into the rural First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs during Sunday morning services and sprayed bullets at the congregation, wounding another 20.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said meanwhile that Kelley, who was armed with an AR-15 rifle and two handguns, had been denied a gun permit in the state of Texas and should not have legally had access to weapons.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) November 6, 2017
President Donald J. Trump, who is travelling in Asia, said the United States was living in “dark times” but brushed off calls for stricter gun control, saying the latest tragedy, which left eight members of one family dead, “isn’t a guns situation.”
The authorities said Mr. Kelley apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his car after opening fire on worshippers. The attacker, who received a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force, was dressed in black and was wearing a bulletproof vest and a black mask with a skull face when he attacked the church, officials said.
Freeman Martin of the Texas Department of Public Safety said the investigation was focusing on reports that Mr. Kelly had sent threatening texts to his mother-in-law, who attended the church but was apparently not there on Sunday morning.
“There was a domestic situation going on with the family and in-laws,” he said. “We know that he expressed anger towards his mother-in-law.”
Governor Abbott said the shooting was not a “random act.”
“Obviously the motive was completely deranged,” he told CBS This Morning. “This is a man who had some mental health issues apparently long before this.”
Texas official: Armed good Samaritan shot the attacker at the church and gave chase. https://t.co/h9IIVrH8gE
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) November 6, 2017