KINGSVILLE (KIII NEWS) - The First Baptist Church in Kingsville responded via Facebook late Sunday night to word of a connection between their church and the 26-year-old man who shot up a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Authorities said 26-year-old Devin Kelley of Comal County shot and killed 26 people at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs before he was chased off by another armed individual. He was found dead in his car following a pursuit.
Upon being identified by media, word quickly spread that Kelley tought Bible study at First Baptist Church in Kingsville after being dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force. The church issued the following statement Sunday night:
"Media reports have made a connection between Devin Patrick Kelley and First Baptist Church of Kingsville, Texas. According to our records, Kelley volunteered one night as a helper during the 2014 Vacation Bible School. He was not a member of the First Baptist Church of Kingsville, nor did he serve in any other capacity. Our congregation would like to offer our prayers and deepest condolences to the Sutherland Springs community mourning the loss of their loved ones."
The leader of that church spoke to media Monday about Kelley's connection to the church. It turns out he spent some time in Kingsville and attended the First Baptist Church for about two months in May and June of 2014, and took part in that one day of Vacation Bible Study.
The pastor said that due to the brief interaction with the church, to his knowledge no one knew Kelley on a personal level. He then went on to offer his thoughts and prayers to the Sutherland Springs community.
"No amount of words is adequate to express the sorrow, nor enough words to explain why this tragedy occurred, or why so many innocent people were injured," Pastor Jack Willoughby said.
3News also reached out to both the Kingsville Police Department and the Klegberg County Sheriff's Office. While Kelley did not have a criminal record in the area, there is a record of Kelley calling police in June of 2014 because of a civil matter with a landlord at a local RV park.
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