Church Gunman Escaped From Mental Hospital In 2012, Bought Gun After Trump Repealed Obama Rule That Would Have Stopped Him
The gunman who killed 26 people at a South Texas church Sunday, escaped from a mental health facility in New Mexico in 2012, according to documents obtained by the New York Times.
Devin Kelley was sent to the Peak Behavioral Health Services Center in Santa Teresa, New Mexico after beating his wife and child while stationed at Holloman Air Force Base, The Times reports.
On June 13, 2012, Kelley escaped from the center and fled across the state line to El Paso. In the missing person’s report, Kelley was described as “a danger to himself and others as he had already been caught sneaking fire arms onto Hollomon Air Force Base.”
The report said Kelley “was attempting to carry out death threats” he had made on his military chain of command.
According to the report, El Paso police arrested him at a bus stop and turned him over to New Mexico police.
Kelley had been convicted of assault in a military court in 2012 for fracturing the skull of his young stepson, and the FBI should have barred him from buying the weapons, said Don Christensen, the service’s top prosecutor whose office oversaw Kelley’s Air Force prosecution. He also was convicted on another count for beating his wife.
Kelley offered a partial confession to the charges and entered a plea agreement that capped his sentence at three years. He was also convicted at court-martial of beating his wife and was jailed for one year and received a bad conduct discharge before being demoted to the Air Force’s lowest rank.
Despite the convictions, the Air Force failed to flag Devin Kelley as banned from buying the weapons he used to kill 26 people and wound 20 more worshipers at a South Texas church on Sunday, the Air Force acknowledged late Monday.
Speaking at a news conference in Tokyo on Monday, President Donald Trump said the horrific massacre was not “a guns situation,” saying instead he believed that “mental health” was the problem,
“This is a mental health problem at the highest level,” Trump said.
Ironically, earlier this year, Trump repealed an Obama rule that prohibited mentally ill people from purchasing a gun and would have prevented Kelley from buying the weapons he used to kill 26 people and wound 20 more worshipers at a South Texas church on Sunday.
About a month ago, however, Kelley was able to purchase a Ruger AR-556 rifle, the gun he used to execute the horrific massacre.
A screenshot of an October 29 Facebook post, ostensibly from Kelley, shows a picture of the rifle. In the status field above the picture is the message, “She’s a bad bitch.”
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