Horrifying new details have emerged surrounding the deadly shooting in Texas. Police have revealed that there was likely ‘no way’ for parishioners to escape. Here’s why.
As authorities continue to investigate the deadliest mass shooting in the history of Texas, new details have surfaced. Police say there was likely “no way” for parishioners to escape First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas when Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, opened fire. Wilson County Sheriff Joe D. Tackitt Jr. explained further during a press conference on Sunday, Nov. 5: “He [Kelley] just walked down the center aisle, turned around and my understanding was shooting on his way back out… It’s unbelievable to see children, men and women, laying there. Defenseless people.”
Officials said Monday that Kelley called his father before potentially killing himself. Kelley told his father he had been shot and didn’t think he was going to make it. Freeman Martin, a regional director of the Texas Department of Safety, revealed that Kelley was confronted [as he attempted to flee the attack] by an armed resident — believed to be Stephen Willeford, 55 — who “grabbed his rifle and engaged that suspect.” Shortly after, Kelley was found dead in his vehicle at the county line, just a few miles from the church. Several weapons were found inside Kelley’s vehicle and Martin said it was unclear if the suspect died of a self-inflicted wound or if he was shot by the resident who confronted him.
Willeford had help taking down Kelley during the deadly shooting. Johnnie Langendorff, another local Texan, happened to be driving by the church when Kelley attacked. During an interview, Langendorff said that Willeford briefed him on what was happening and said that they had to catch Kelley; that’s when Langendorff hopped in his vehicle and embarked on a full fledged car chase, going 95 miles per hour for miles before Kelley lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a ditch. When police arrived to the scene, Kelley was already dead.
Of the victims — 26 dead and 20 hurt — at least 14 were believed to be children. The ages of the victims ranges from 18 months to 77-years-old. Authorities are reportedly awaiting autopsy results and plan to release the names of all victims, once their next of kin are notified.
Police recovered three guns from the scene of the massacre — a Rugger 556 rifle left behind at the church and two handguns found in Kelley’s car [a Glock 9m and a Ruger 22]. Police discovered that Kelley purchased four guns in the past four years; two in Colorado and two in Texas.
Authorities have yet to address how it was possible for Kelley to purchase the guns, considering his past incident with the military. Kelley served in the U.S. Air Force from 2010-2012. However, he was court-martialed on one count of assault on his spouse and another count of assault on their child, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said. She added that Kelley was sentenced to 12 months confinement, a reduction in rank and was discharged for bad conduct two years later.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the attack — which occured on Sunday, Nov. 5 — the worst mass shooting in Texas history. President Donald Trump, 71, has since addressed the massacre, blaming the incident on a “mental health problem at the highest level.”
“I think that mental health is your problem here,” Trump said during a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe. “This was a very … very deranged individual, a lot of problems over a long period of time. We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries.”
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