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Church Shooter Threatened In-Law Before Deadly Rampage

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SUTHERLAND SPRINGS – The youngest victim to die in a church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas Sunday was 18 months old, according to officials who briefed on the incident.  

The Department of Public Safety said the names of the 26 people shot dead will be released once next of kin has been notified.

Twenty-three of the victims were shot dead inside the church, two outside the parish and one died at the hospital. Twenty remain hospitalized, 10 of them in critical condition.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS also learned the shooter, identified as Devin Patrick Kelley, sent threatening text messages to his mother-in-law, who sometimes attended the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church.

Kelley was dishonorably discharged from the military in 2014 after being court-martialed for assaulting his wife and child.

Three guns were recovered from the scenes: the Ruger AR-556 rifle church he used in the church, plus two handguns, a Glock 9mm and a Ruger 22.

Although Kelley did not have a license to carry, he did have a private security license.

All the guns he owned were purchased from stores in Texas and Colorado.

Houston division ATF Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski said generally, a dishonorable discharge from the military would prohibit someone from being able to purchase firearms.

“In this specific investigation, we are early in the investigation, we do not have all the documentation yet,” said Milanowski in Monday’s press conference. “So until we get all the documentation to determine exactly what his discharge was and exactly what his conviction in the military, we will not have a determination on if this individual was prohibited from possessing or purchasing firearms.”

Authorities also confirmed a Good Samaritan, who resides across the street from the church, shot Kelley with an AR-15-style rifle.

When he was hit, Kelley dropped his own rifle and drove away from the church.

The Good Samaritan then jumped in a vehicle with a man who was driving by, and the two chased Kelley until he crashed.

Authorities said Kelley called his father while being chased and told him he’d been shot and didn’t expect to live.

An autopsy is still pending on Kelley, but DPS said he appeared to have a self-inflicted gunshot wound, as well as the wound from the first gunshot he received.

Law enforcement thanked both of the men involved in chasing down the shooter. They said by neutralizing the shooter, they likely saved lives. 

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