SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas (AP) — Authorities say a gunman armed with an assault rifle opened fire inside a small South Texas church, killing 26 people who ranged in age from 5 to 72.

The mass shooting occurred Sunday morning at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio. About 20 others were wounded in the attack.

Two officials who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity identified the gunman as Devin Kelley. An Air Force spokeswoman said records confirm Kelley received a bad conduct discharge after being court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his spouse and child.

Wilson County Sheriff Joe D. Tackitt Jr. described the scene inside the church as "terrible."

Investigators have not yet determined a motive for the attack.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(36) comments

Mark Aaron

More blood on the hands of the NRA and its apologists.

Carlos Ponce

The only "blood" on the hands of an NRA member are on Stephen Willeford who confronted killer Devin Kelley. Willeford is an NRA instructor who lives across the street from the Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. He is considered a hero.
“I say he’s a hero,” Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt told CNN. “Had he not done what he did, we could have lost more people. There were other weapons in the vehicle. Even though he dropped the one, there’s another church about a mile down the road, he could’ve stopped there. Who knows.”

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [“Had he not done what he did, we could have lost more people.]

There is zero evidence to suggest the killer planned to go kill elsewhere. He had a clear tie to the church he massacred and motive.

Carlos Ponce

Little Marky, the sheriff disagrees with your OPINION.

Steve Fouga

Better background checks, tighter restrictions might have stopped this one. Maybe most of them.

Carlos Ponce

My sympathy to the friends and family of those killed in Sutherland Springs.
"Better background checks" - Devin Kelley was DENIED a gun permit under the current background check format according to Governor Abbott, But he still managed to procure firearms which shows the fallacy of that oft used argument. Someone who wants to kill with a firearm will get his hands on them. Being denied during a background check didn't stop him.
However the good Samaritan was armed which put an end to the carnage. He shot Devin Kelley. Upon being wounded Kelley dropped his weapon and fled. The good Samaritan and a man from Seguin pursued. The police were notified by cell phone. Devin Kelley called his father and said he wasn't going to make it. He then shot himself.

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [ Devin Kelley was DENIED a gun permit under the current background check format according to Governor Abbott, But he still managed to procure firearms which shows the fallacy of that oft used argument. Someone who wants to kill with a firearm will get his hands on them. Being denied during a background check didn't stop him. ]

Poor Carlos, duped again. The reason he passed the instant check is because the Air Force didn't report him like they were obligated to do.

Carlos Ponce

He was still denied a carry permit Little Marky. But as you point out the Air Force dropped the ball on reporting his infractions which would have prevented him from purchasing. The laws were in place but the lack of proper recorded data aided this killer. A Bad Conduct Discharge would not have prevented him from purchasing but everything else he did would. Domestic violence. Sexual assault accusations, Animal cruelty, Escape from a mental health facility, Threatening text messages - any of which would have prevented him from making the purchase. Little Marky is duped into thinking more gun laws on the books would have prevented this.

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [ Little Marky is duped into thinking more gun laws on the books would have prevented this.]

A law outlawing rapid-fire high-capacity firearms would have slowed him down considerably and allowed people to escape. Outlawing high capacity magazines would help. Mandated reporting of disqualifying behavior by all military forces could also help. Requiring ID to purchase ammo and a national gun registry could warn agencies about suspects building arsenals or large stockpiles of ammo.

Why do you pretend nothing can be done, Carlos? Whose interest do you think you serve enabling mass shootings?

Carlos Ponce

Little Marky, look at states and cities with the STRICTEST gun laws in this country. Safe from gun murders? No.
Who knew that Devin Kelley had mental problems? The US air Force, his ex-wife, his ex in-laws, the mental institution from which he escaped, etc. If people will get off the PC notion not to report that the guy was a nut job we'd have less incidents. And if it were not for the good Samaritan armed with an AR-15, Devin would be out there.

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [Little Marky, look at states and cities with the STRICTEST gun laws in this country. Safe from gun murders? No.]

No state is safe from gun murders, why would you pretend otherwise Carlos?

If you actually do go look at who has the most strict laws the results are inconclusive, at best, interesting still. Here is what the Washington Post noted about it:

_"“Background checks are making the biggest impacts” on reducing gun fatalities, according to Bindu Kalesan, director of Boston University's Center for Clinical Translational Epidemiology and Comparative Effectiveness Research, who authored a 2016 study on the effectiveness of gun policy measures."_

_"However, even among states with thorough background check laws, reciprocity agreements between states undercut the ability of individual states to manage the flow of firearms into their borders. Without “comprehensive guns laws we're not going to be able to start making progress,” Kalesan said."_

==> [If people will get off the PC notion not to report that the guy was a nut job we'd have less incidents.]

PC? More like "good old boys" protecting each other's ability to buy firearms. Nothing PC about it. The PC thing would be to report any and every incident immediately.

==> [And if it were not for the good Samaritan armed with an AR-15, Devin would be out ]

You don't need an assault weapon to stop a shooter. Most any deer rifle has more knock-down power than an .AR-15.

Carlos Ponce

Little Marky posts: "No state is safe from gun murders, why would you pretend otherwise Carlos?"
I never said any were. And looking at states, cities with the strictest gun laws is far from "inconclusive".
Illinois has strict gun laws as does Chicago. Not the strictest in the US but still very strict.
"Gun homicides in the city rose by 61 percent between 2015 and 2016. That helped make the gun homicide rate in Chicago particularly huge compared to other similar cities. The rate was 25.1 per 100,000 residents in 2016, compared to 14.7 in Philadelphia and just 2.3 in New York." NPR
"It is true that Illinois has tougher gun laws than many other states. The state is one of seven that requires licenses or permits to buy any firearm, and it's one of five that requires waiting periods for buying any firearm. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which tracks gun laws nationwide, has given the state a B+ for its gun laws." NPR

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [Little Marky posts: "No state is safe from gun murders, why would you pretend otherwise Carlos?" I never said any were. And looking at states, cities with the strictest gun laws is far from "inconclusive".

Actually, it is. I apologize for not including my source last time, I simply forgot to. I wanted you to see it. Then you might understand why I say inconclusive. Read it here:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/national/assault-weapons-laws/?utm_term=.7f319b68ba82

Carlos Ponce

Oh gee, WAPO! That must be your Bible, Little Marky. Some truth in it, but mostly Leftist obfuscations and LIES. Journalists should not work on a political agenda. Most of WAPO does.

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [Oh gee, WAPO! That must be your Bible, Little Marky. Some truth in it, but mostly Leftist obfuscations and LIES. Journalists should not work on a political agenda. Most of WAPO does.]

You know you have lost when you are forced into pretending the Washington Post is some minor tabloid, Carlos. The article uses the most current statistics on gun control I've seen and puts them in a highly readable form. Did you even bother to look at it? If you plan to continue to use your Chicago-is-bad anti-gun-control defense you out to at least know the facts.

Carlos Ponce

If you haven't noticed the editors and writers at WAPO have a Liberal agenda in their stories. It caters to the inside the beltway swamp dwellers but is very popular among Leftist throughout the United States.

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [If you haven't noticed the editors and writers at WAPO have a Liberal agenda in their stories. It caters to the inside the beltway swamp dwellers but is very popular among Leftist throughout the United States.]

You are conveniently seeing things that aren't there Carlos. The Washington Post is one of the two most important papers in the United States and you are reduced to pretending otherwise to protect Trump and the Republican Party, both of which are proving themselves incredibly incompetent.

Why are you afraid of important statistical facts about gun control Carlos? What are you afraid you might learn?

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [However the good Samaritan was armed which put an end to the carnage.]

From all reports it sounds like the shooter had already done the deed before encountering the man with the rifle. He was too late. That's what makes rapid-fire high-capacity weapons so dangerous.

Carlos Ponce

"From all reports it sounds like the shooter had already done the deed before encountering the man with the rifle." The Sheriff disagrees with Little Marky noting because Kelley did not get his intended target he would strike elsewhere, taking it out on the entire community.

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [The Sheriff disagrees with Little Marky noting because Kelley did not get his intended target he would strike elsewhere, taking it out on the entire community.]

No way of knowing for certain in a case like this. I doubt he had other plans, but that is just opinion.

Carlos Ponce

Little Marky: “I say he’s a hero,” Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt told CNN. “Had he not done what he did, we could have lost more people. There were other weapons in the vehicle. Even though he dropped the one, there’s another church about a mile down the road, he could’ve stopped there. Who knows.”
Pure speculation on the sheriff's part but he knows more about the situation than you do.

Mark Aaron

Steve: [Better background checks, tighter restrictions might have stopped this one. Maybe most of them.]

Yes, the Air Force dropped the ball badly on this one. They never reported him when they had a duty to do so. I would also lay blame on Academy stores for promoting and selling the kind of weapons that let this happen with such ease.

Steve Fouga

A measure that would definitely help is the Single-Scope Background Investigation, conducted by the Defense Security Service for companies or government agencies that employ people requiring top-secret security clearances.

Agents examine financial histories and criminal records, and interview teachers, neighbors, friends, coworkers, creditors, etc., at every address the applicant has resided or been employed, for many years prior. They weed out nuts, crooks, drunks, drug users, people in financial jeopardy, people with suicidal tendencies, people who can be easily blackmailed, people with suspicious foreign ties... exactly the folks we wouldn't want having a top-secret clearance.

Or a gun.

These investigations typically run $3,000-$5,000, a cost borne by the federal government. If required for a gun purchase, the cost would be borne by the purchaser, in the form of a surcharge. TS clearances are re-investigated every 5 years, by the way.

ATF Form 4473 would be replaced by Standard Form 86 for the purchase of certain firearms. ATF 4473 takes a few minutes to fill out; SF 86 takes at least several hours, usually days, and sometimes weeks. This system is not foolproof; there are occasional leakers like Jared Kushner and Mike Flynn who are willing to risk federal prison by falsifying their SF 86. Still, most liars are caught during the detailed interview required to receive the clearance.

Draconian, perhaps. But I guarantee it would put a big dent in gun deaths. [batman]

Carlos Ponce

SF 86 would have to be severely modified if used for background checks to purchase firearms. After modification it would resemble ATF 4473.
https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf86-non508.pdf
If we applied the same standards to voter registration, you would cry "foul" since voting is considered a "Constitutional Right" and this would place an undue burden on potential voters which is currently a postcard. But the "right to keep and bear arms is a clearly defined Constitutional Right.
So why does ATF 4473 require a government issued photo ID but Liberals view Photo Id to vote an obstruction?
SF 86 requires photo ID: Page One:
"For the interview, you will be required to provide photo identification, such as a valid state driver's license. You may be required to provide other documents to verify your identity, as instructed by your investigator. These documents may include certification of any legal name change, Social Security card, passport, and/or your birth certificate."

Steve Fouga

I didn't explain well enough. Here's a more thorough explanation:

Use SF 86 as is.

There are already plenty of laws regulating guns, that still leave 2nd Amendment in play. This would just be the next. A person could still bear arms, it would just cost more and require an effective background check. Like machine guns cost more and require more paperwork. None are still made, but it's legal to own them. They just cost a lot and require a stamp. See? It's doable, Carlos. Just gotta have the will to do it. The will of the people, which I'm afraid is on the side of tougher background checks.

You say nothing will work. This would work. I'm not even saying I'm in favor, but it WOULD work. It's not voting, it's guns. Different things.

Carlos Ponce

Steve posts: "Use SF 86 as is."
That's why i posted a link to SF 86. Most of it does not apply to an ordinary citizen. The stuff that does apply looks like the ATF 4473.

Steve Fouga

Carlos says: "That's why i posted a link to SF 86. Most of it does not apply to an ordinary citizen. The stuff that does apply looks like the ATF 4473."

It's true that much of an SF 86 doesn't apply to any one person, but it does apply to ordinary citizens. The DoD and defense contractors employ lots of ordinary citizens.

When filling out an SF 86, the applicant simply writes "not applicable," or something similar, in the blanks that aren't relevant. For any given person, that will be many blanks. But for any given person, the form will also capture a lot of useful info. Believe me, the form is so long that anybody living long enough to apply for a TS or buy a gun, will fill in enough blanks for the feds to get a good idea of whether they're a risk. I'd say about half the questions apply to a typical person.

Someone with military service, a college education, a few jobs, a large family, and several changes of residence will spend weeks filling out an SF 86. If they have arrest records, have been treated for mental illness, or used drugs, that will be found out. If they lie, they will probably be found out when associates are interviewed. If not then, the applicant interview will probably make them come clean, or at least squirm enough that the clearance will be denied.

ATF 4473 is a joke. A typical terrorist could walk into Academy, buy a few ARs, 50 mags and a pile of ammo, and leave in less than an hour.

Carlos Ponce

Then most of it would be NA. And do you really think that someone bent on killing with weapons with a questionable background CANNOT obtain weapons on the street? In for a penny, in for a pound. If they are willing to kill they'll throw away all the rule books. Will any law prevent killings? Only an idiot would think so. Suppose Devin Kelley had no firearms, what could he do? Throwing a Molotov cocktail at the doors of the church could kill everyone in there. A Molotov cocktail is known as "a poor man's grenade", easily made with no background check to obtain the materials.

Steve Fouga

"And do you really think that someone bent on killing with weapons with a questionable background CANNOT obtain weapons on the street?"

Of course not. Laws are as good as they can be, never perfect. The objective is to deter SOME of the folks bent on killing. As many as practical, without infringing on the "right to bear arms." A person can "bear arms" without bearing a lot of them at once, or bearing the ones that make it easy to kill a large number of people quickly.

Carlos, I would suggest you fill out an SF 86, then imagine that every response will be studied by a skilled investigator. Your friends, co-workers, employers and creditors will be interviewed. Your financial background will be probed. Your employment files will be searched. Depending on your age, teachers and professors will be interviewed. Your military record, if any, will be examined. Your family, or part of it, might be subjected to some of the same. You will then be interviewed by a skilled security agent. It will be a stressful interview. This privilege will have cost you $5,000, plus the price of the gun. It will have taken at least weeks, or more likely, several months.

You don't think that would deter gun purchases? It would cut the ones subject to this law by 99% overnight. Sure, there would be leakers. And of course there would be stolen and black-market guns. But suddenly a big percentage of the most effective people-killing firearms would cease to come into circulation. It would have a similar effect on the subject firearms that the Firearm Owners' Protection Act of 1986 had on machine guns: you can get them, but it's going to be burdensome and expensive. After a few years, almost nobody would be buying the subject firearms. After a few more, the ones already in circulation would be so valuable that few would be willing to part with them or pay the price to purchase them. This would make it much harder to get them on the street, but, as you say, still possible.

Sure, people would find other ways to kill lots of folks at once. But a very easy, efficient way would have been, for the most part, taken away.

If such a proposal were presented in a national referendum, thus bypassing the gun lobby, I bet it would pass by 50 points.

Carlos Ponce

Steve, a person bent on killing wouldn't bother with filling out forms. Or do as Devin Kelley did - LIE. Remember, who reads these things - BUREAUCRATS. And Bureaucracy may be responsible for why his past was not reported. If they do deny - big deal! They will find a way to kill.
There were too many people aware Devin Kelley was a crazed loon. All who "dropped the ball" should rethink their PC attitude of not telling.
"You don't think it would deter gun purchases?" You're just putting up more roadblocks for law abiding citizens.
Did the Good Samaritan ever shoot a person before he took action? No. But as an NRA instructor he knew what to do and acted instinctively from all his experience with his AR-15. He was scared but he did what was necessary, considered a hero by all except for a few Left wing anti-gun nut jobs.

Steve Fouga

Carlos, for sure the biggest effect of an SSBI-type background check would be to keep the most effective people-killing firearms from coming into circulation... not to deter an individual bent on killing. As you say, that person can use a bomb.

My main point is that it IS possible to reduce gun deaths. It's not that nothing can be done, it's that we don't have the political will to do it.

Carlos Ponce

Look at states, cities with the strictest gun regulation. Passing a law won't help those killed, then, now or in the future. Laws just punish those who commit the crime AFTER THE FACT.

Steve Fouga

Okay, Carlos. You believe nothing will work. I believe something will work.

Carlos Ponce

Steve, I've already given my solution. And it does not involve gun control. In this PC world we live in people are reluctant to report their neighbors, acquaintances. Now I don't believe you should act like Gladys Kravitz but prudent alertness reported to the proper authorities would prevent many of these killings. Just look at all the people who knew Devin Kelley was a nut case. And I still believe the brother and girlfriend of the Las Vegas shooter know more than they admit.

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [ Now I don't believe you should act like Gladys Kravitz but prudent alertness reported to the proper authorities would prevent many of these killings. Just look at all the people who knew Devin Kelley was a nut case. And I still believe the brother and girlfriend of the Las Vegas shooter know more than they admit. ]

I recall in another discussion here you saying you knew of people using a straw buyer and you thought it was no big deal.

Steve Fouga

"My neighbor is a nut; don't let him buy a gun..."

What kind of due process is that? Seriously, how would you make it work? Who would you report crazy behavior to, if the person hasn't committed a crime? How would it be acted on, and put into NICS or some relevant database?

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