The Other McCain

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MASSACRE: 26 Killed at Texas Church; Gunman ID’d as Devin Patrick Kelley

Posted on | November 5, 2017 | 1 Comment

A horrific crime was committed this morning when a gunman opened fire at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. The gunman is reportedly dead; at least 25 people were killed and 20 others wounded, but we don’t know the killer’s identity or his motive.

UPDATE: The gunman has been identified as Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, a U.S. Air Force veteran. Kelley lived in New Braunfels, a suburb of San Antonio, about 35 miles from Sutherland Springs. According to the Daily Beast, Kelley’s mother-in-law listed an address in Sutherland Springs, which suggests a possible motive of personal revenge stemming from a domestic dispute. While this is mere speculation, of course, it does seem safe to rule out a political or terrorist motive.

UPDATE II: The question of motive is essential to understanding any atrocity like this and, as I often caution in the immediate aftermath of such events, it is important not to jump to conclusions on the basis of our political prejudices. When the news broke that a Baptist church had been attacked, I’m sure some people suspected an anti-religious motive. If the shooter had been identified as a guy named Mohamad or Abdul, this would have suggested Islamic terrorism. If the shooter had been an LGBT activist, this would have suggested a different type of political terrorism. If this had been a church with a black congregation, the motive might have been racial terrorism. As it is, however, we have reason to guess that Devin Kelley was having personal problems, that his marriage may have been unraveling, and that he targeted this church based on motives of personal revenge. This is only guesswork, based on the available information, but we can probably rule out ISIS, neo-Nazis, Antifa or any other sort of terrorism.

UPDATE III: In a press conference, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott reports that 26 people are dead, although he did not say whether this total includes the gunman.

UPDATE IV: Kelley “was court-martialed in 2012 for assault on his spouse and their child and received a Bad Conduct Discharge,” NBC News has reported.

UPDATE V: An armed citizen ended the massacre:

A concerned neighbor who heard the Texas church massacre unfolding on Sunday went and grabbed his rifle and tried to stop it — opening fire on the shooter and chasing him down in a stranger’s truck, a report says.
The man, who has not been publicly named, is being hailed online as a “hero” after state officials described his actions during a press conference.
A resident told the local ABC affiliate KSAT that he teamed up with her boyfriend and the two gave chase for several minutes inside his truck before the alleged gunman, Devin Kelley, eventually crashed the car he was in.
Authorities said the armed neighbor may have saved countless lives by opening fire on Kelley and forcing him to flee the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs during his 11:30 a.m. massacre.

Kelley was found shot to death in his vehicles, but authorities said they did not know immediately whether Kelley shot himself or died from a wound inflicted by the rifle-wielding neighbor.

 

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