On Sunday, around 11 a.m., twenty-six-year old Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire at First Baptist Church In Sutherland Springs, Texas, outside San Antonio. Twenty-six people were killed, with another 20 wounded. The ages of the victims range from 18 months to 77 years of age. It’s horrific. Kelley, a U.S. Air Force veteran, was court martialed for domestic violence in 2012. He beat his wife and child, cracking his young stepson’s skull. He was given a yearlong jail sentence and issued a “bad-conduct” discharge in 2014. That is not the same as a dishonorable discharge. Yet, a year in jail and a domestic violence conviction; how did Kelley obtain firearms? How did he pass the background checks?
BREAKING: State official: Victims fatally shot inside Texas church ranged in age from 18 months to 77 years.— The Associated Press (@AP) November 6, 2017
Via CBS News:
Texas Department of Public Safety regional director Freeman Martin said Monday that Kelley, who served in the Air Force from 2010 until 2014, did not have a license to carry firearms. However, Kelley purchased four weapons in total during the years 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. Two were bought in Colorado and two in Texas, ATF officials said. Three weapons were recovered at the scene of the shooting -- a Ruger AR-556 rifle found at the church, and two handguns, a Glock 9mm and a Ruger 22, found in his car, according to Fred Milanowski, special agent in charge of the ATF Houston.
A law enforcement source tells CBS News justice and homeland security correspondent Jeff Pegues that Kelley purchased the Ruger AR-556 rifle from an Academy Sports and Outdoors store in San Antonio in April 2016, and Academy Sports confirmed that Kelley also purchased another firearm from the store in 2017.
BREAKING: Official: Shooter had three gunshot wounds, one self-inflicted to head; two from armed citizen, one leg and one torso.— The Associated Press (@AP) November 7, 2017
BREAKING: Official says law enforcement collected hundreds of shell casings, 15 magazines with 30 rounds each, from Texas church.— The Associated Press (@AP) November 7, 2017
Academy Sports + Outdoors confirms suspect in Sutherland Springs shooting purchased a firearm from one of its locations in 2016. pic.twitter.com/jAwP9axB8X— Kurt Chirbas (@kchirbas) November 6, 2017
Convicted domestic abusers cannot purchase firearms. That’s been law for years. So, how did this happen? The Air Force did not forward his criminal record to the FBI per Pentagon regulations. This shooting was potentially avoidable. Yet, there was one person who wasn’t going to stand idle as Kelley shot up a church. Stephen Willeford said his daughter heard gunshots at the nearby church, and saw a man in tactical gear. Willeford got his rifle out of his safe, loaded it, and proceeded to run across the street to engage Kelley. He wounded him; Kelley was wearing body armor. As Leah wrote earlier yesterday, a good man with a gun stopped a bad guy with a gun. Now, we know that good guy, Willeford, is a member of the National Rifle Association and a former certified instructor with the organization. NRA’s national spokeswoman Dana Loesch confirmed this as well (via 40/29 News):
Willeford, a former NRA instructor, got his rifle out of his safe while his daughter looked outside again. She ran back in and told him she saw a man in black tactical gear shooting up the church.
"I kept hearing the shots, one after another, very rapid shots - just 'pop pop pop pop' and I knew every one of those shots represented someone, that it was aimed at someone, that they weren't just random shots," Willeford said."
Willeford loaded his magazine and ran across the street to the church, not even taking the time to put on shoes. When Willeford saw the gunman, he exchanged gunfire.
"He saw me and I saw him," Willeford said. "I was standing behind a pickup truck for cover."
"I know I hit him," Willeford said. "He got into his vehicle, and he fired another couple rounds through his side window. When the window dropped, I fired another round at him again."
The gunman then sped down the highway.
Willeford spotted a pickup truck at a stop sign. He ran to the truck and asked the driver for help.
"That guy just shot up the Baptist church. We need to stop him," Willeford told the driver.
Willeford and the driver chased the gunman down the highway. On the way, they called 911 to give a description of the gunman's vehicle and where they were.
Eventually, they caught up to the gunman's truck. The gunman slowed down before speeding up and hitting a road sign. The gunman's truck flipped and went down into a ditch.
Willeford said he's no hero.
"I think my God, my Lord protected me and gave me the skills to do what needed to be done," Willeford said.
It was revealed yesterday that an autopsy of Kelley showed that he did commit suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
For the Left, this is where your road ends. This is where your narrative dies. For all the vicious tweets hurled at people of faith over this incident, for the mockery that ensued, and the tweets hurled at the NRA, it was an NRA member who stopped Kelley. I mean denigrating God is par for the course. It would be liberalism without it, but all of this NRA having blood on it hands etc.; the fact remains that an NRA member stopped it and members of this civil rights organization don’t commit these crimes and are not responsible for them. Period. In the span of the day, you stepped on all the rakes in this debate.
Welcome to America. It has been zero days since our last mass shooting. #FucktheNRA— Wil Wheaton (@wilw) November 5, 2017
The @NRA is soaked and bathed in blood. How do its adherents sleep at night?— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) November 5, 2017
You mocked religious people, which won’t help you with white working class voter outreach that is essential for the upcoming elections. You said we should politicize the recent terrorist in New York City, but go no holds barred on this because…you all lack self-awareness. Oh, and you defended “Allahu Akbar,” but mock these people? You propose that domestic violence abusers shouldn’t have guns, completely ignoring the fact that it’s already law. They peddle nonsense that there’s no regulation of rifles, and we find out that perhaps this shooting could have been prevented if the Air Force followed Pentagon protocol and informed the FBI, who could have add Kelley’s updated information into the NICS system. It looks like this debate is already over—and apologies are in order. Many apologies.
Crazy thought: maybe journalists and gun controllers should learn what the current gun laws are before demanding new ones.— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) November 6, 2017