According to authorities and other media outlets, here is what is known about Kelley:
He was a white male, 26 years old. He was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a crashed car after a brief chase following the shooting. Authorities said he used his cellphone to tell his father he had been shot and didn’t think he would survive. He was dressed all in black and was believed to be the only shooter.
Kelley fired first outside the church, then went into the church and continued to fire; a resident near the church began firing his own weapon at Kelley; the resident and another man then chased Kelley until he crashed his car.
Several media sources have said the man who engaged Kelley as he was shooting is Stephen Willeford, though law enforcement officials have not yet confirmed it was Willeford who shot at Kelley. Johnny Langendorff was the other man who chased Kelley.
Kelley had three gunshot wounds: One self-inflicted to the head, one in the torso and one in the leg.
Kelley lived northeast of San Antonio in New Braunfels, Texas, about 35 miles from Sutherland Springs.
Facebook friends said Kelley had become “vocally anti-Christian,” according to The New York Times. “He was always talking about how people who believe in God were stupid and trying to preach his atheism,” one of his Facebook friends, Nina Rosa Nava, said in a post. She unfriended him because of the posts. Kelley’s Facebook account has been deleted.
He purchased a Ruger AR-556 rifle in April 2016 from an Academy Sports and Outdoors store in San Antonio.
Kelley served in the U.S. Air Force at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico in “cargo, demand and supply and distribution.”
He was court-martialed in 2012 for assault on his spouse and her child, according to the Air Force. “He assaulted his stepson severely enough that he fractured his skull, and he also assaulted his wife,” Don Christensen, a retired colonel who was the chief prosecutor for the Air Force, told The New York Times. “He pled to intentionally doing it, served a year of confinement, then received a bad conduct discharge.”
According to The AP, citing federal officials, the Air Force did not submit Kelley’s criminal history despite being required to do so by Pentagon rules. “Under Pentagon rules, information about convictions of military personnel for crimes like assault should be submitted to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Investigation Services Division,” The AP reported. Because it was not submitted to the federal database, it did not appear on background checks that are conducted on potential gun buyers, according to authorities.
He was married twice and had become estranged from his second wife, whom he married in April 2014. According to The Times, the second wife sometimes attended First Baptist Church. Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt Jr. told The AP Kelley’s in-laws attended the church “from time to time.” They were not in attendance on Sunday when the shootings took place.
According to court records, Kelley was charged with a misdemeanor of cruelty to animals in August 2014. A neighbor, only identified as Susan by the Times, told the publication a man similar in age and appearance to Kelly lived next to her in a Colorado Springs RV park, the city of which has several Air Force bases. Susan said police were called to the home once because the man struck a pit bull puppy in the head. According to the woman, she never got the neighbor’s name, but said the dog was kept tied up outside the RV all day. The cruelty to animals case was dismissed and Susan said her neighbor moved a few weeks later.
Authorities say 23 people were killed inside the church; two were shot and killed outside the church and another person died at the hospital. The ages of the victims range from 18 months to 72 years old.
The attack came on the anniversary of the mass shooting that took 13 lives at Fort Hood, Texas. On Nov. 5, 2009, U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan shot at least 43 people in the deadliest mass shooting on an American military base. Fort Hood is near Killeen, Texas, which is a little more than 150 miles from Sutherland Springs.