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Texas governor says "there was a connection" between suspect and church

Texas governor on church shooting
Texas governor on church shooting 05:12

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says it appears "there was a connection" between the shooting suspect Devin Patrick Kelley and the Sutherland Springs church where 26 people were killed on Sunday. The investigation into the suspect's motive is ongoing.

"I think the bottom line is, this was not a random act of shooting," Abbott said Monday on "CBS This Morning." "I don't think this church was picked out at random. I think there was purpose and intent that Devin Kelley had in showing up at this particular location."

About 20 others were wounded in the attack, which was the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history. After a chase, police found the 26-year-old suspect dead inside his vehicle. Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt told "CBS This Morning" on Monday it appeared to be "a self-inflicted gunshot wound." 

The sheriff said Kelley's ex-wife and former in-laws occasionally attended the church.

Texas church shooting victims 03:13

Kelley served at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 to 2014. He was court martialed in 2012 on charges he assaulted his spouse and child. Kelley was sentenced to 12 months confinement and received a bad conduct discharge.

Abbott said current laws should have prevented Kelley from purchasing a gun.

"I can tell you that before he made this purchase, he tried to get a gun permit in the state of Texas and was denied that permit. And so under the current system of federal law, he should have prevented from being able to make this purchase," Abbott said. "How that got through the cracks, I don't have that information, but it's important to understand these are the types of facts and issues that investigators continue to look into, and we will be able to have clear answers to those questions in the coming days."

Kelley was denied "because of either answers or the lack thereof that were provided in his request to get a Texas gun permit," Abbott added.

Abbott called Kelley's motivations "completely deranged" and added he "had mental health issues, apparently" before he enlisted in the Air Force, but did not provide evidence. He pointed to Kelley's discharge from the Air Force, reports "loosely made, not confirmed about some mental health issues," and "violent tendencies."

Pressed about preventing gun violence and keeping weapons out of the hands of dangerous people, Abbott said "evil exists in this world."

"I'm going to use the words of the citizens of Sutherland Springs themselves, and that is, they want to work together for love to overcome evil, and you do that by working with God," Abbott said. 

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