Texas church shooter escaped mental health facility in 2012
The man who shot and killed 26 people in a Texas church Sunday was checked into and escaped from a mental health facility in New Mexico in 2012, according to a police report obtained by CBS News.
Devin Kelley was sent to the Peak Behavioral Health Services Center in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, but escaped on June 13, 2012, fleeing to El Paso, Texas, according to the report. His stay at the facility came after multiple incidents between June 2011 and April 2012 in which he beat his wife and stepson, who suffered a fractured skull in one incident.
It is not clear if those attacks were why he was checked into the facility, but Kelley was already facing military charges at the time of his escape.
The El Paso police report warned that Kelley "was a danger to himself and others as he had already been caught sneaking firearms" onto the base, where he "was attempting to carry out death threats that (he) had made on his military chain of command."
El Paso police arrested Kelley without incident at a bus stop and turned him over to New Mexico police. The report notes he did not make any threatening statements during his arrest.
Kelley was sentenced about five months later, on November 7, 2012 for the assaults, and was ordered to serve a year in confinement. In 2014, Kelley received a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force, which was supposed to notify the FBI of his domestic violence conviction. Kelley should have been barred from buying the weapons used in Sunday's shooting, according to Don Christensen, who at the time was the Air Force's top prosecutor.
The Air Force acknowledged Monday that it failed to flag Kelley as banned from buying firearms. The Air Force said it has launched a review of how the service handled Kelley's criminal records.
Texas authorities say Kelley did not have a license to carry firearms. However, Kelley purchased four weapons in total during the years 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. Two were bought in Colorado and two in Texas, ATF officials said. Three weapons were recovered at the scene of the shooting -- a Ruger AR-556 rifle found at the church, and two handguns, a Glock 9mm and a Ruger 22, found in his car, according to Fred Milanowski, special agent in charge of the ATF Houston.
Academy Sports, a Texas store where Kelley bought two weapons, confirmed in a statement to CBS News Monday that Kelley's purchases were approved by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
In a statement to CBS News, Peak Behavioral Health said it would not confirm whether Kelley was a patient at the facility, citing federal and state law, as well as the company's policies.
"Our hearts go out to the victims of this horrible act and their families and friends, and like everyone else in Texas, we are doing everything we can to help the community in recovering and healing from this tragedy," the company said.
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