Sunday mornings are normally full of song and worship in the small town of Sutherland Springs, Texas. Sunday November 5th started off no different as people started to gather at the First Baptist Church. At just about 11:20 a.m., however, this would all change. 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, the presumed assailant, parked approached the church in his truck, got out and opened fire before he was inside.
As Kelley then proceeded inside, covering the church in gun fire, as people tried to run for their lives. 4% of the town’s population would not be lucky. 23 people would die inside the church, two outside and then one at the hospital. Leaving 26 dead in total. Almost every person who had been in attendance ended up between three hospitals, not a single person was uninjured.
Families, if not completely eliminated by this horrible shooting, are left broken and empty. Victims ranged in age from 5 to 72 years old, one of who was the 14-year-old daughter of the church’s pastor. At least eight people of one family were killed, along with a women who was five months pregnant and three of her children. Victims’ names have yet to be released due to notification of next of kin needing to be made. Which is proving to be hard for the families that have been wiped out. Hearts are aching as Texas slowly begins to make sense of what has become the state’s largest mass shooting.
Kelley was a previous member of the US Air Force who had received a bad conduct discharge and the loss of his rank. This came after he was court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his spouse and their child. All though there is no definitive answer as to why Kelley opened fire, he is known that his in-laws attended the church but were not present at the time of the massacre.
After Kelley opened fire, there were two civilians who pursued him in an 11-mile chase, until he ended up in a ditch. Prior to Kelley taking off in his vehicle, one of the men who was carrying his own gun at the time, took a shot at Kelly, wounding him. Devin Patrick Kelley then took off in his car. After he lost control of the vehicle and ended up in the ditch, he put his gun to his head and took his own life.
It is unknown how many more shots Kelley would have been able to get off if the civilians had not attacked back. It is known that Kelley had more guns in his vehicle and that there was enough ammo for them all. Members of the community hugged and cried together as candles were lit at vigils in hopes to begin the healing process, or to at least make some sense of what happened.