Autopsy confirms Texas church gunman died by suicide
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.