Published: Jeu, Novembre 09, 2017
International | By Oceane Deschanel

Texas church shooter once escaped from mental hospital

Texas church shooter once escaped from mental hospital

Devin P. Kelley was general court-martialed in 2012, two years into his Air Force service, for assaulting his wife and stepson.

Police were also told that Kelley had been accused of "attempting to carry out death threats" against his "military chain of command".

The Air Force confirmed Monday that it failed to transmit records of Kelley's conviction to an Federal Bureau of Investigation database used for background checks for gun purchases, and officials ordered an internal review of the case and Air Force policies.

At a news conference on Tuesday, investigators said they had hit a roadblock as they tried to fathom what motivated Kelley's rampage at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs: They have not been able to unlock his mobile phone, reviving an issue that received national attention after another mass shooting nearly two years ago.

The El Paso report notes that Kelley was committed to a mental health facility in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, but at some point escaped and was later found by police at a bus station in downtown El Paso in June 2012. Kelley should have been prevented from purchasing firearms because he had a previous domestic violence conviction.

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A witness told officers that Kelley "suffered from mental disorders" and was "a danger to himself and others as he had already been caught sneaking firearms onto Holloman Air Force base".

Investigators believe Kelley acted alone in the church attack and was not motivated by any political or religious agenda, but perhaps by a domestic argument Kelley had with his mother-in-law, who is a member of the church's congregation but who was not in attendance during the attack.

"We don't know what he was thinking or what was in his mind", Martin said.

"Unfortunately, at this point in time, we are unable to get into that phone", Christopher H. Combs, the special agent in charge of the FBI's San Antonio office, said on Tuesday.

The FBI and other law enforcement officials have long complained about being unable to unlock and recover evidence from cellphones and other devices seized from suspects even if authorities have a warrant.

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