The suspected shooter who opened fire in a Texas church, killing 26 people and injuring 20 was reportedly denied a gun license in the state.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said Devin Kelley, 26, tried to get a license to carry a gun in the state of Texas but was denied, CNN reports.
“So how was it that he was able to get a gun? By all the facts that we seem to know, he was not supposed to have access to a gun. So how did this happen?”
Kelley is thought to be the gunman responsible for killing 4% of a rural Texas town’s population in what the governor called the “largest mass shooting” the state has ever seen. The shooting took place at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. The town is about 30 miles east of San Antonio.
Sunday’s tragedy began at 11:20 a.m. when Kelley, dressed in all-black tactical gear, pulled up to the church, exited his vehicle and opened fire on people outside of the building. He then walked inside and began shooting again. Kelley continued to shoot as he exited the church but was accosted by a local resident who fired back at the 26-year-old with a rifle and struck him.
Kelley then got back into his truck and drove away, but was followed by the resident who shot him and another man who witnessed the shootout between the two.
One of the men following Kelley, Johnnie Langendorff, said the shooter “eventually lost control on his own and went off into the ditch.” He said they kept a gun pointed at the vehicle and told him to get out, but they didn’t see any movement.
Law enforcement officials later confirmed that Kelley died from a gunshot wound, believed to be self-inflicted.
The gunman killed 26 people during the shooting — authorities have reported that their ages ranged from 5 to 72 years old, but members of a family that lost eight people in the shooting told the Chicago Tribune that one of the victims was a toddler girl.
Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt said at a news conference Monday that the violence was so bad, most of the survivors sustained injuries.
“I think nearly everyone had some type of injury.”
Kelley was a former member of the U.S. Air Force. He was discharged after being court-martialed in 2012 for assault on his wife and child. Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said Kelley spent a year in confinement, then received a bad-conduct discharge in 2014. His rank was also reduced.
He reportedly purchased the Ruger AR-556 rifle that he allegedly used in Sunday’s shooting in April 2016 from an Academy Sports & Outdoors store in San Antonio, according to Independent. He reportedly checked the box indicating that he had no disqualifying criminal history while filling out the background paperwork for the rifle, and he used a Colorado address as his place of residence.
[Feature image: Associated Press]