New Mexico

REPORT: Church shooter once escaped behavioral center in Santa Teresa, caught in El Paso

EL PASO, Texas - Devin Kelley, the man accused of shooting and killing 26 people at a Texas church, escaped from a behavioral center in Santa Teresa, New Mexico and was later caught in Downtown El Paso, an incident report obtained by ABC-7 reveals.

The report states the incident happened June 13, 2012 when Kelley escaped from the Peak Behavioral Health Services located at 5045 McNutt Road in Santa Teresa.

El Paso Police officers later located Kelley at the Greyhound bus station located at 200 W. San Antonio in El Paso. The reporting party told police officers Kelley suffered from mental disorders, had just escaped from a behavioral health center and planned on taking a bus out of state.

Documents state officers were told Kelley was a danger to himself and others because he had "already been caught sneaking firearms into Holloman  Air Force base" and was "attempting to carry out death threats he had already made on his military chain of command." Officers were also told Kelly was already facing military criminal charges.

Once the officers located Kelley on the 200 block of San Antonio in Downtown El Paso, documents state, Kelley did not resist or make any comments about harming himself or others. The police report states El Paso Police released Kelley to Sunland Park Police Officers. 

Kelley enlisted in the Air Force in 2010 and was assigned to Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo, New Mexico, with the responsibility of moving passengers, cargo and personal property in military transportation. He got married for the first time in 2011.
Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said Kelley faced a court-martial in 2012 on allegations that he abused his spouse and his stepson. The Air Force's former chief prosecutor, Don Christensen, told The New York Times Kelley fractured the child's skull. Kelley was sentenced to 12 months of confinement and ultimately removed from the military with a bad conduct discharge and a reduction of rank.
His wife, Tessa Kelley, filed for divorce the same year as the court-martial. In paperwork associated with the divorce, Tessa Kelley said she was working at Taco Bell for $7.50 an hour while Devin Kelley was in detention.
The divorce was finalized in October 2012. Kelley's discharge was complete in 2014, Stefanek said.

Tuesday, a couple who survived the attack at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs said Kelley went aisle to aisle looking for victims and shot crying babies at point-blank range.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis Tuesday said he has directed the Pentagon's watchdog to examine the circumstances of the Air Force's failure to report Kelley's domestic violence conviction to the FBI.
Mattis says we have to "find out what's going on." Under Pentagon rules, convictions of military personnel in crimes like assault should be shared with the FBI for its National Criminal Information Center database. Kelley, stationed nearly four years at Holloman AFB in Alamogordo, was convicted of assault against his wife and stepson in an Air Force court-martial in 2012.


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