SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas — The Pentagon has confirmed the suspect identified in the mass shooting at a Texas church previously served in the Air Force.
In a brief statement, the Pentagon says 26-year-old Devin Kelley was an airman “at one point,” but additional details about his time in the Air Force were not immediately available.
CBS News reported Kelley served in the Air Force from 2010 to 2014, when he was dishonorably discharged and court-martialed in May 2014. Further details on Kelley’s service record were not immediately available.
Department of Public Safety regional director Freeman Martin says the alleged shooter was dressed in black, wearing tactical gear and a ballistic vest when he arrived at a neighboring gas station around 11:20 a.m.
He crossed the street to the church, left his vehicle and started firing a Ruger AR assault-type rifle at the church. Then he entered the church and fired.
As he left the church, the shooter met an unidentified area resident with his own rifle who pursued him. The suspect was found dead in his vehicle near the border between Wilson and Guadalupe counties.
Martin says it’s unclear if he died of a self-inflicted wound or was shot by the resident.
At least 26 people were killed, not including the shooter, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said at a press conference.
Many others were wounded, said Freeman Martin, a regional director with the Texas Department of Public Safety, with victims ranging in age from 5 to 72 years old.
Among the dead is the 14-year-old daughter of the church’s pastor, Frank Pomeroy, according to his wife, Sherri Pomeroy, the girl’s mother. The couple were traveling out of state when the shooting occurred.
Later on Sunday, more than 100 people gathered on a grassy street corner within sight of the church where the shooting occurred for a prayer vigil.
Attendees, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, lit candles while some wept and others hugged Sunday night. They could see the church sign lit up and emergency lights flashing.
The vigil across the street from a gas station convenience store where law enforcement officials say the shooter stopped before the attack.
Mike Gonzales, who does not attend the church but lives near says: “The people of this church are wonderful people.” Gonzales added, “We’re coming together to pray for them and show the world that now, in the midst of darkness, there is light.”
President Donald Trump has promised his administration’s full support to the investigation of a Texas church shooting that left 26 dead and about 20 wounded.
Speaking to U.S. and Japanese business leaders in Tokyo Monday morning during his Asian trip, Trump highlighted that this “act of evil” at a place of sacred worship.
Trump said, “Our hearts are broken but in dark times — and these are dark times — such as these, Americans do what they do best.” He says Americans will pull together to help those suffering.
Trump says he will continue monitoring the investigation during his 11-day tour.