Texas church shooter had stint at Holloman, USAF says | KOB 4

Texas church shooter had stint at Holloman, USAF says

KOB and NBC News Channel report
November 06, 2017 10:11 PM

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- The question "why?" hangs heavy across the country after a deadly mass shooting at a church in a small Texas town, while the Air Force admits it made a huge mistake.


Officials failed to submit the former airman's criminal history. It's a gaffe that could have kept him from getting his hands on the gun he used to kill 26 people in Sunday's attack at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Investigators say the gunman, Devin Kelley, carried out the massacre before he was found dead. Texas state troopers believe this was no random attack.

Kelley has ties to New Mexico. According to the U.S. Air Force, Kelley served in Logistics Readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo from 2010 to 2014, but he was court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his wife and child.

He spent a year in confinement and was demoted to airman basic before he was discharged in 2014.

The Air Force has launched a review of how the service handled Kelley's criminal records following his domestic violence conviction. 

According to the U.S. Air Force spokesperson, Holloman Air Force Base Office of Special Investigations did not enter that offense into the National Crime Information Center database. That could have blocked him from buying the rifle he used in the shooting.

Texas-based Academy Sports and Outdoors confirms it sold Kelley two guns at two separate stores in San Antonio, Texas. One was bought last year, the other this year. The company also confirms the sales were cleared by the national instant criminal background check system

Residents in Alamogordo say news of the massacre is sickening, and they're shocked the shooter had lived in their town.

"I'm a disabled vet from the Air Force and we don't deserve that kind of a slap in the face," Rhonda Harper said. "The Air Force don't have those kinds of people, you know? Somebody should have done something."

"That was really shocking. I mean we could have bumped into him in the street and never know the way he didn't take care of his wife and child, [and] beat them," added Bill Oechsner, the general manager of the Historic Sands Theatre. "It's a tremendous shock to hear something like that."

For one Alamogordo pastor, it hits even harder. Kyle Bueermann leads the First Baptist Church in Alamogordo. He said Sunday's massacre was a wake-up call.

"I'm from a small town in west Texas. So when I saw the YouTube videos from the church's services last week, it looked like any number of churches I've been in," he said.

After Kelley's violent rampage, Bueermann said safety for his congregation is heavy on his mind. He said he and his members refuse to live in fear but he's already taking steps to beef up security at their church.

"This isn't something that happened somewhere else somewhere out there this in a lot of ways happened in our own backyard," he said.

~ Kassi Nelson and KOB.com Web Staff


SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas (NBC News) -- Of the 26 people killed in Sunday's shooting at the Baptist church in Texas, as many as 14 were children, the youngest just 18-months-old. Among the victims was 14-year-old Annabelle Pomeroy, the daughter of the church's pastor and wife, who were out of town Sunday.

More than a dozen people remain hospitalized, 10 are in critical condition. 

Officials say Kelley was dressed in tactical gear and armed with a semi-automatic rifle when he opened fire from outside, then inside, the church. 

When the gunman went to flee the church, he was confronted by armed citizen Johnnie Langendorff, who pursued the shooter. After a high-speed chase, it is believed the suspect committed suicide inside his vehicle where other weapons were found. 

Investigators are learning more about the gunman's possible motives, including a domestic dispute with his mother-in-law. The mother-in-law was not present Sunday, but officials say she did attend the church and had received threatening texts from the shooter.

Read more: http://nbcnews.to/2zmNHHg

~ Sarah Dallof, NBC News


DURANGO, Colo. -- As details of Kelley’s life continue to surface, auditor records have revealed yet another tie his family holds to the Southwest.

Colorado records show Kelley’s parents, Michael and Rebecca Kelley, purchased undeveloped property in Durango area earlier this year. The 40-acre plot is located off of Morningstar Drive, a neighborhood in which many properties are being sold off and built upon.

At this time, it remains unclear if Kelley ever visited the Durango property.

~ Meg Hilling, KOB


KOB and NBC News Channel report

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