Man who opened fire in Texas church, killing 26, served time in brig at MCAS Miramar for domestic-violence crimes

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The ex-serviceman who opened fire with an assault rifle in a Texas church over the weekend, killing more than two dozen congregants, ended his military career with a stint in the brig at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar for domestic-violence crimes, authorities confirmed Monday.

Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, carried out the murderous rampage at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a rural community about 35 miles southeast of San Antonio, late Sunday morning.

The 26 people killed ranged in age from 17 months to 77 years old. At least 20 other victims survived, though about half of them were hospitalized in critical condition.

Following the massacre, Kelley got into a shootout with a bystander outside the house of worship, then drove off with the good Samaritan and another man in pursuit. Kelley eventually crashed his car and was found dead inside with several bullet wounds, including a self-inflicted shot to the head, police said.

Five years ago, while serving in the U.S. Air Force, Kelley was sentenced to a year’s confinement at MCAS Miramar for assaulting his wife and stepson, USAF spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said. He was reduced in rank before getting a bad-conduct discharge from the service in 2014.

Those convictions should have prevented Kelley from legally buying firearms, but the Air Force neglected to enter his name into a federal database for checks on gun buyers, authorities said.

"The Air Force has launched a review of how the service handled the criminal records of former Airman Devin P. Kelley following his 2012 domestic violence conviction,” USAF officials said in a prepared statement. "Federal law prohibited him from buying or possessing firearms after this conviction.”

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