Archive

ShareThis Page
Autopsy confirms Texas church gunman died by suicide | TribLIVE.com
News

Autopsy confirms Texas church gunman died by suicide

The Associated Press
ChurchShootingTexas32733jpgcb306
FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety shows Devin Patrick Kelley. An autopsy released Thursday, June 28, 2018, by the Travis County Medical Examiner's Office, confirmed that Kelley, who killed more than two dozen people at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas last year, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. (Texas Department of Public Safety via AP, File)

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas — The gunman responsible for the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and also had drugs in his system, according to an autopsy report released Thursday.

Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, opened fire during church services on the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs last November, killing more than two dozen people. He was later found dead in a vehicle after he was shot and chased by two men who heard the gunfire at the church.

The autopsy released by the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office said Kelley’s cause of death is suicide from a single gunshot wound to the head. The head wound had a partial muzzle imprint, according to the document.

Kelley also had gunshot wounds to his torso and leg, but he died from the gunshot wound to his head, according to the autopsy.

The autopsy, first reported on by San Antonio TV station KENS, also says toxicology tests detected marijuana and anti-anxiety drugs in his system.

Toxicologist Peter Stout, CEO and president of the Houston Forensic Science Center, said the toxicology report showed low levels of anti-anxiety drugs and marijuana in Kelley’s system.

“There’s nothing particularly remarkable about those concentrations,” he said, mentioning that it looks like Kelley had either eaten an edible with marijuana or smoked marijuana at some point.

He also said it can be tricky to determine a person’s impairment based on post-mortem blood.

Dressed all in black and wearing tactical gear, Kelley burst into the church and opened fire on worshippers as he walked down the center aisle, authorities and witnesses said. The autopsy noted that Kelley was wearing a vest, utility belt, and all-black clothing, including his undergarments, socks and boots.

Among the dead were several children, the pastor’s daughter and a pregnant woman.

Investigators have said the attack appeared to stem from a domestic dispute Kelley was having with his mother-in-law, a member of the church who wasn’t present that day. Kelley had been discharged from the Air Force for assaulting his wife and child, and served 12 months’ confinement following a 2012 court-martial.

One family that lost several relatives during the mass shooting has sued the federal government, saying that even though Kelley was criminally convicted the military failed to enter the information into a database used to conduct background checks of gun buyers. The error, according to the lawsuit, allowed Kelley to buy the assault-style rifle he used in the attack.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.