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Suspected gunman in Texas mass shooting had faced US military court-martial

© Erich Schlegel/Getty Images North America/AFP | Law enforcement officials enter the property of Devin P. Kelley on November 5, 2017, near New Braunfels, Texas.

Video by Olivia SALAZAR-WINSPEAR , Erin OGUNKEYE

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2017-11-07

The man authorities have identified as the gunman in a mass shooting at a Texas church was discharged from the Air Force for allegedly assaulting his spouse and child, according to an Air Force spokeswoman.

The spokeswoman, Ann Stefanek, said Sunday that Devin Kelley served 12 months' confinement after a 2012 court-martial. He ultimately received a bad conduct discharge and reduction in rank.

She said Kelley served in Logistics Readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his discharge in 2014. His job was being responsible for moving passengers, cargo and personal property in military transportation.

‘This is a town with just two gas stations, one post office’

Authorities did not announce his name at a news conference on the shooting, saying only that the suspect was a white male in his 20s.

But a US official and a law enforcement official identified Kelley as the person who opened fire Sunday at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 people and wounding about 20 others.

The US official told the Associated Press that Kelley lived in a San Antonio suburb and that he doesn't appear to be linked to organised terrorist groups. The official said investigators are looking at social media posts Kelley may have made in the days before Sunday's attack, including one that appeared to show an AR-15 style semi-automatic weapon. The official requested anonymity because the person did not have authorisation to speak publicly.

An address listed in online records as belonging to Kelley is located in New Braunfels, Texas, just outside San Antonio and about 56 kilometres from Sutherland Springs.

‘Why this church? Why would you do this to people like that?’ eyewitness asks

Local records of an August traffic ticket issued in New Braunfels, Texas, for an expired registration and not having car insurance give a birthdate that would make him 26 years old.

At the address listed for Kelley in New Braunfels, two sheriff's vans were parked outside and police officers stood at the gate of a cattle fence surrounding the property. Law enforcement officials gathered at the property declined to comment on why they were there. Several messages left for his relatives went unreturned.

Neighbours said that they heard intense gunfire coming from the direction of the address listed for Kelley in recent days.

"It's really loud. At first I thought someone was blasting," said Ryan Albers, 16, who lives across the road. "It had to be coming from somewhere pretty close. It was definitely not just a shotgun or someone hunting. It was someone using automatic weapon fire."

A person matching Kelley's name and date of birth also registered in 2014 to vote in Colorado, with an address listed in Colorado Springs, home of the US Air Force Academy. The Colorado Secretary of State's office lists his registration now as inactive.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety regional director Freeman Martin, the gunman arrived at a Valero gas station near the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs at around 11.20am Sunday. He was dressed in black, wearing tactical gear and a ballistic vest.

He crossed the street to the church, left his vehicle and started firing a Ruger AR assault-type rifle at the church. Then he entered the church and fired.

Authorities believe that, after that, Kelley shot himself following a car crash.

Wilson County Sheriff Joe D. Tackitt Jr. told CBS News that police found Devin Patrick Kelley dead inside his vehicle Sunday shortly after the shootings in Sutherland Springs.

Tackitt says Kelley was being pursued by two community members, and investigators believe gunfire was exchanged before Kelley's vehicle crashed.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

Date created : 2017-11-06

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