Texas Church Massacre


Jasmine Varelas, Co Editor of A&E and Opinion

Sunday morning in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a man named Devin Patrick Kelley killed 26 people and left 20 in critical condition. Around 11:20 am, the shooter started firing as he entered a local church, where he murdered church-goers whose ages ranged from 17 months to 77 years old. This small Texas town lost about 10% of their citizens, half of which were children. Just one family lost 8 of their members, including a woman and her unborn baby. Not only did the pregnant mother die, but so did 3 of her 5 children, their grandmother, grandfather, uncle, and cousin. The pastor’s own 14-year-old daughter was among the many victims. Her mother claimed that,  “As much tragedy as that entails for our family, we don’t want to overshadow the other lives lost yesterday. We lost more than Belle yesterday. And one thing that gives me a sliver of encouragement is the fact that Belle was surrounded yesterday by her church family that she loved fiercely and vice versa.” If you want to watch the video, click here. If you want to see a list of the victims, click here.

Devin Kelley

This isn’t the first time Kelley has been violent. The shooter was a former Airman who was court-martialed for abusing his wife and step-child. Kelley spent 1 year in military jail but was discharged due to bad behavior, and he escaped a mental hospital in 2012. The shooter had 3 guns in his possession, but officials say that Kelley should not have been able to legally purchase them. According to the Washington Post, “This revelation came as authorities continued to seek a more complete portrait of Kelley and probed a breakdown in military protocols that failed to flag his domestic violence conviction, which should have prevented him from buying guns.”

A local named Stephen Willeford was woken up from his nap by gunshots, and before he could even pull his shoes on, he grabbed his gun, ran outside, and started a gunfight with Kelley. When the murderer was shot by the local hero, he ran into his car and drove off. Willeford then jumped into Johnnie Langendorff’s – a complete stranger’s – truck saying, “He just shot up the church, we need to go get him.” Langendorff’s response was, “Lets go.” They chased Kelley for 10 miles, going 95 mph.  During this high-speed chase, the shooter called his dad, saying that he was shot. The cops found Kelley dead in his car with 3 bullet wounds, 2 from Willeford and 1 self inflected- which was his cause of death.

Sources: CNN, ABCNEWS, Washingtonpost, Time