Texas shooter update.
Former Facebook friends described Devin Patrick Kelley as “vocally anti-Christian.”
Here is what we know about Kelley, the 26-year-old who murdered 26 people during a worship service on Sunday at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Kelley graduated from New Braunfels High School in 2009. In 2010, he joined the Air Force, working as a logistical readiness airman at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.
He married a woman named Tessa and had an infant stepson. In 2012, he assaulted his wife and stepson, fracturing the boy’s skull. According to the Air Force chief prosecutor, Kelley “pled to intentionally doing it.” Kelley was court-martialed for the assault and spent a year in military prison. His wife filed for divorce in October 2012.
After his one-year prison term, he was discharged from the Air Force for bad conduct.
In April 2014, Kelley married Danielle Lee Shields. They moved to Colorado Springs and lived in an RV park. While living there, Kelley was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty, but the case was dismissed.
In recent years he lived with Danielle and their two-year-old son in a barn behind his parents’ house on their large property in New Braunfels, Texas. By 2017, however, he was estranged from Danielle.
In June, Kelley was hired to work as an unarmed night security guard at a water park in New Braunfels. He was fired after five and a half weeks.
Danielle sometimes attended First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs with her parents, though they were not there on Sunday when Kelley attacked. Yesterday morning, officials said they are investigating “threatening texts” that Kelley had sent his mother-in-law. They haven’t released details yet, but it appears the church shooting was somehow connected to a domestic dispute.
Several people who knew Kelley from high school unfriended him on Facebook in recent years because he had “grown dark,” and “liked” several atheist groups on his Facebook page. One Facebook friend wrote that “he was always talking about how people who believe in God were stupid and trying to preach his atheism.”
One former friend posted on Facebook Sunday night: “Over the years we all saw him change into something that he wasn’t. To be completely honest, I’m really not surprised this happened, and I don’t think anyone who knew him is very surprised either.”
War drums are beating in the Middle East... again.
The fighting words coming from the Saudis the past 24 hours have been difficult to keep up with. On Monday, Saudi Arabia called a missile attack by an Iranian proxy an “act of war” by Iran. Literally just a few hours later, the Saudis accused Lebanon of declaring war on the Kingdom for supporting Hezbollah. The Saudi Gulf affairs minister said Lebanon would be “dealt with as a government declaring war on Saudi Arabia.”
This morning, the Saudi Crown Prince, who is basically defacto King, accused Iran of “direct military aggression.” The Saudis have used the word “war” twice in 24 hours and now the most powerful man in the country publically points the finger at Iran. The Arab and Persian Cold War has been going on for a long time but they’re very rarely this public and direct about it. What’s going on?
A fundamental transformation of the Middle East is underway. Saudi Arabia, Iran and even Turkey are scrambling to see who can fill the power vacuum left behind as ISIS retreats. Iran has clearly been winning. They have armed militias dominating countries in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. They’re on the verge of near complete control. The Saudis are finding themselves late to the party, and they’ve apparently had enough.
A direct confrontation between the Saudis and Iran would have global consequences. Iran would attempt to blockade the Strait of Hormuz causing the price of oil to skyrocket. Gasoline would shoot up over 5 dollars a gallon. Militaries from all over the world would get involved which would increase the chance a mistake might happen between rivals.
President Trump is in Asia this week but he might want to direct all his attention towards the Middle East. The State Department should be in overdrive working to cool all this down. No one will win if this war goes forward, but the war drums are beating.
Stephen Willeford's heroism.
Finally, some sleep. Stephen hadn’t had much of it these days.
Just as he was about to doze off, his daughter frantically ran into his room.
She said she heard gunshots coming from the church nearby.
Stephen calmly walked to his safe and pulled out his rifle.
He counted the shots he heard as he loaded his gun. Time was slipping away. He knew each one of the shots represented someone that could be hurt.
Stephen made his way over to the church and confronted the man with black tactical gear. The attacker pulled his pistol on Stephen.
The moment was so surreal. It almost felt like a video game. Stephen rushed for cover behind a pickup truck, lifted his rifle, and pulled the trigger. He hit him.
But the shot didn’t kill the attacker --- far from it. He was able to make it into his car.
The gunfire suddenly turned into a high-speed chase.
"Is this real life?" Stephen thought to himself.
Stephen and another man named Johnny got into the pickup truck and chased him down 539.
They were chasing this maniac down the highway at 95 miles per hour, weaving in and out of traffic.
The whole time, the police were on the phone with Stephen.
When the attacker eventually ran into a ditch, police were seconds behind.
Today, Stephen is being applauded as a hero. But he doesn’t think he is.
“I’m no hero; I am not. I think my God, my Lord, protected me and gave me the skills to do what needed to be done. And I just wish I could have got there faster.”
Thank you, Stephen for being there when you did. It’s Americans like him who make all the difference sometimes. You never know when you’ll be called to do something great.