Texas gunman once escaped from mental health facility
© Getty Images

The gunman who perpetrated the mass shooting at a Texas church previously escaped from a mental institution while he was in the Air Force, according to a 2012 police report, first obtained by KPRC in Houston.

Two officers from the El Paso Police Department picked up Devin Kelley at a bus station as he was escaping from Peak Behavioral Health Services in the nearby town of Santa Teresa, N.M. Kelley had been placed in the hospital after he was charged by a military court with assaulting his wife and infant stepson.

ADVERTISEMENT

Before his escape, Kelley made death threats to Air Force superiors and was caught trying to smuggle weapons onto his base. 

The witness who reported Kelley's escape from the behavioral facility told police the man "suffered from mental disorders" and was "a danger to himself and others," the police report noted. 

Five months after the attempted escape, Kelley pleaded guilty to assaults on his wife and stepson, one of which fractured the toddler's skull. A military court sentenced him to one year in prison.

An entry of the escape incident was provided to the FBI National Crime Information Center database, according to the police report. 

Authorities say Kelley was the gunman who opened fire at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Sunday, killing 26 people.

Kelley was found dead at the scene.

The incident has renewed debate over the need for new gun laws.

The Air Force on Monday disclosed that officials had failed to notify the FBI’s National Criminal Information Center that Kelley had been discharged after being court-martialed for domestic violence.

If that conviction had been reported, it would have been harder for him to obtain a firearm.