Sutherland Springs Shooter Escaped Psychiatric Hospital in 2012


Devin Kelley, the man guilty of killing 26 members of a Sutherland Springs church on Sunday, escaped a mental health facility in July 2012, months after being court-martialed for violently assaulting his wife and stepchild.

Police records obtained by KPRC2 Houston show that Kelley fled Peak Behavior Health Services in Santa Teresa, New Mexico on July 7, 2012. He was eventually stopped by police in El Paso, Texas, at a Greyhound bus station, just 12 miles from the facility.

According to the El Paso incident report, PBHS staff had told police that Kelley "suffered from mental disorders" and was a "danger to himself." They also noted that Kelley, who was stationed at Holloman Air Force Base at the time, had been attempting to carry out death threats on his superiors on base and had been caught "sneaking firearms onto the nearby base."

The Air Force has already confirmed that Kelley had been court-martialed earlier in the year for kicking and choking his wife and hitting his stepson's head hard enough to fracture the young boy's skull. In November 2012, the Air Force sentenced Kelley to 12 months confinement and a reduction to the lowest possible Air Force rank. In disclosing this information, the Air Force never mentioned his stay in the New Mexico facility.

According to the police report, officers entered Kelley into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database for gun purchases for his death threats and escape. It's a step that the Air Force admitted Monday to not doing after convicting Kelley for domestic assault.

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