Texas Church Killer Escaped from Mental Hospital in 2012, Says Report

Devin Patrick Kelley
Mugshot of Devin Kelley

The shooter who killed 26 people in a Texas Baptist church on Sunday reportedly escaped from a New Mexico mental health facility in 2012. The mental health incident followed an episode where the shooter previously assaulted his wife and stepchild in 2011.

An incident report obtained by KPRC NBC2 in Houston from the El Paso Police Department details an event that occurred at a bus station on June 7, 2012. El Paso police officers were dispatched to check out a missing person report. After making contact with Devin Patrick Kelley, the man who later killed 26 people in the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday, police learned he escaped from Peak Behavioral Health Services. The mental health treatment facility is located in Santa Teresa, New Mexico.

Kelley, then 21, “suffered from mental disorders and had plans to run from Peak Behavioral Health Services” by purchasing a bus ticket.

The police report states Peak Behavioral Health Services advised the officers that Kelley “was a danger to himself and others as he had already been caught sneaking fire arms {sic} onto Holloman Airforce {sic} base.” The statement continues, reporting Kelley “was attempting to carry out death threats that (Kelley) had made on his military chain of command.”

The police report further advised that Kelley was facing criminal charges.

Officers advised that Kelley did not resist or make any comments about hurting himself or others when they arrested him. The officers turned Kelley over to the Sunland Park, New Mexico, Police Department.

Kelley later received a conviction in a general court-martial for assaulting his wife and child. The court sentenced him to one year in jail and ordered a Bad Conduct Discharge from the Air Force.

When a person purchases a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer, the applicant must fill out an ATF Form 4473. Question 11f on the form asks, “Have you ever been adjudicated as a mental defective OR have you ever been committed to a mental institution? (bold and caps as they appear on the form)

It is not clear from the report if Kelley was “adjudicated as a mental defective” or if he was “committed” to the mental institution. If either of those things were true, Kelley would have had to have lied on the form in order to purchase the four firearms he bought in the past four years.

Breitbart Texas talked to the administrative judge over the mental health docket for Texas’ largest county, Harris County. Judge Rory R. Olsen said, “Mr. Kelley’s mishaps with the mental health system emphasize the need for public interest in spending to provide for adequate mental health treatment for those who need it.”

According to the Texas Office of Court Administration, Harris County had more than 18,000 mental health cases processed last year. Harris County covers Houston and surrounding areas.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTXGAB, and Facebook.


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