Texas Church Shooting: Authorities believe massacre stemmed from domestic situation
2017-11-07 13:38:00

Officials are now saying the US Air force had failed to submit the gunman's criminal history to the FBI, in contravention of Pentagon rules. CGTN's Hendrik Sybrandy has more on the latest developments from Sutherland Springs.

Outside First Baptist Church, members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation combed a field looking for evidence possibly connected to the shootings. The process of reconstructing Sunday's events has just begun.

SHERRY POMEROY WIFE OF PASTOR "Our church was not comprised of members or parishioners. We were a very close family. We ate together, we laughed together, we cried together. We worshipped together. Now most of our church family is gone."

Authorities say the suspect, identified as 26-year-old Devin Kelley, arrived at the church during Sunday services, wearing tactical gear and carrying an assault rifle.

FREEMAN MARTIN TEXAS DEPT. OF PUBLIC SAFETY "He was wearing a black mask that had a white skull face to it. Then he drove across to the church and that's when he exited the vehicle and started shooting."

Once he was inside the building, members of the congregation were defenseless. There was no way for them to escape.

LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL "There was some length of time that subject spent inside that church, in a shooting event. He moved around freely inside the church, but I'm not going to get into his exact dynamics within the church."

HENDRIK SYBRANDY TEXAS The suspect exited the church, exchanged gunshots with a local resident and then jumped in his vehicle and headed down the highway. A car gave chase. He didn't make it very far.

JOHNNIE LANGENDORFF FOLLOWED SUSPECT "The other gentleman who's a member of this community came, jumped in my truck and said he just shot up the church, we gotta go get him. And I said, let's go."

Shortly after the high-speed chase began, the suspect's vehicle crashed into a ditch. Authorities believe he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Langendorff said he did what anyone in his position would have done.

JOHNNIE LANGENDORFF FOLLOWED SUSPECT "That's the bottom line is he needed to be stopped. He was stopped, and he's not going to hurt anyone else ever again."

Investigators say they've ruled out terrorism or any kind of racial or religious motivation for the attack.

FREEMAN MARTIN TEXAS DEPT. OF PUBLIC SAFETY "One thing everyone wants to know is why did this happen, it's a senseless crime but we can tell you that there was a domestic situation going on within this family, the suspect's mother-in-law attended this church."

He says he sent her threatening text messages. Investigators say Kelley displayed a pattern of domestic violence over a period of years. He was discharged from the U.S. Air Force for assaulting his wife and child. Among the 26 victims at the church was Annabelle Pomeroy, the pastor's 14-year-old daughter.

SHERRY POMEROY WIFE OF PASTOR "As senseless as this tragedy was, our sweet bell would not have been able to deal with losing so much family yesterday. Please don't forget Sutherland Springs."

JOE TACKETT WILSON COUNTY SHERIFF Right now, family or have family is in the hospital. HSY, CGTN, SS TX

Source:CGTN Editor:Hiram