Texas church shooter escaped mental health center in Santa, Teresa, NM in 2012

KFOX_Devin Patrick Kelley.png

The gunman who shot and killed 26 people in a Texas church Sunday was checked into and escaped from a mental health facility in Santa Teresa, New Mexico in 2012, according to a police report obtained by KFOX14.

An El Paso, Texas, police incident report indicated that Devin Patrick Kelley was stationed at Holloman Air Force Base when he was caught trying to bring firearms onto the base.

The report said Kelley, 21 at the time, had made death threats against superior officers.

He was committed to a mental health facility in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, but at some point escaped and was later found by police at a Greyhound bus station in downtown El Paso in June 2012.

El Paso police met with Kelley and were able to detain him until Sunland Park police arrived.

Sunland Park police said its information and records about the case match up with EPPD’s. Sunland Park police also said the situation was not a criminal case.

On Sunday, 26-year-old Kelley traveled to a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs and opened fire with a Ruger AR rifle with a 30-round magazine, going from aisle to aisle as he shot parishioners. He killed himself after being shot and chased down by a neighbor.

Kelley was able to buy the rifle and three other weapons even though the former Air Force man was convicted at a court martial of choking his wife and cracking her son's skull and was given a bad-conduct discharge in 2014.

It turned out the Air Force did not submit his criminal history to the FBI database that is used to conduct background checks for gun shops.

Peak Behavioral Health Services said it can’t comment on patients who may have been in their facilities under federal and state law, and they released the following statement:

At Peak Behavioral Health, we are deeply committed to providing the best patient care. We never discuss whether someone was or was not a patient at our hospital, and we never discuss any information about our patients. Preserving the confidentiality of this information is not only a matter of policy, it is federal and state law. In behavioral health, this is particularly important because of the stigma that still attaches to treatment, and the reluctance many people have about seeking help for fear that others will learn about it.
“Our hearts go out to the victims of this horrible act and their families and friends, and like everyone else in Texas, we are doing everything we can to help the community in recovering and healing from this tragedy.
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