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TEXAS CHURCH SHOOTER: Years Before ‘Soft Target’ Attack, Gunman Tried to Carry Out Death Threats on CIA Linked Air Force Base

Shawn Helton
21st Century Wire 

The gunman named in a mass shooting that was said to have killed 26 people at a small church outside of San Antonio was convicted by the military several years before the tragic attack in 2012.  

This past week new information concerning the apparent First Baptist Church gunman 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, revealed that the previously convicted Air Force airman was already well-known to authorities via his “bad conduct discharge” from the military in 2012. The recent acknowledgement in Kelley’s case history, coupled with his unusually relaxed plea bargain deal, has only prompted more questions from those concerned about the most recent high-profile mass shooting in America.

According to officials, the Sutherland Springs shooting at the First Baptist Church may have been caused by a domestic dispute involving Kelley and his ex-mother-in-law Michelle Shields. However, it turns out that Shields was not present at church services on the morning of the mass shooting, although her mother was named as one of the victims.

A more precise motive in the deadly Sutherland Springs massacre has yet to be uncovered by authorities…

‘TEXAS CHURCH SHOOTING’ – 8 years after the Fort Hood mass shooting, the First Baptist Church attack raises big questions. Its also worth noting, the recent church shooting echoes a scene in the 2015 Hollywood film Kingsman: The Secret Service. (Photo Illustration 21WIRE’s Shawn Helton)

The Texas Church Shooter

While many in media have focused on the military’s inability to log Devin Patrick Kelley’s domestic violence court-martial case into a federal database, a police report from 2012 revealed that the gunman named in the First Baptist Church shooting had been previously caught attempting to sneak firearms onto a CIA linked military base in New Mexico where he was stationed. The El Paso police report concluded that after Kelley escaped the mental health facility believed to be Peak Behavioral Health Services Center in Santa Teresa, he sought to carry out death threats against his superiors at New Mexico’s Holloman Air Force base.

A CBS Affiliate from Dallas further explained the church shooter’s lengthy criminal background:

“The information was contained in a police incident report after Devin Patrick Kelley briefly escaped in June, 2012 from a mental health facility in New Mexico where he had been committed. KPRC television in Houston first reported about the escape.”

Police in El Paso, Texas, where Kelley was caught after the escape, said in the report that an official of the mental health facility told them that Kelley “was a danger to himself and others.”

The report says that Kelley had already been caught sneaking firearms onto Holloman Air Force base. It also says that he “was attempting to carry out death threats that (Kelley) had made on his military chain of command.”

Moreover, a FOX News report just days ago revealed additional information concerning Kelley’s violent threats at Holloman Air Force base:

“Former Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessika Edwards told The New York Times that Kelley would shake with rage and vow to kill his superiors when he was assigned menial tasks as punishment for poor performance. At one point, Edwards told the Times, she warned others in the squadron to go easy on Kelley, believing he was likely to come back and “shoot up the place.””

Rather strangely, former Air Force Staff Sgt. Edwards still kept in close contact with the criminally convicted and discharged logistical readiness airman, stating that he asked her to be a job reference in 2015. Shortly there after, Kelley allegedly became obsessed with the polarizing case involving Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof.

‘CHURCH SHOOTER’ – What is the real motive in the First Baptist Church shooting? (Image Source: nbcwashington)

The shocking claims of death threats prior to the Sutherland Springs church shooting taking place raises questions not only about the criminally convicted shooter Kelley, who was accused of a slew of abusive behavior but also the military’s handling of the gunman’s well-known history of violence from a prosecutorial standpoint.

QUESTION: How did Kelley manage to get such a relaxed sentence considering he had several other major charges dropped – including an additional incident where he allegedly pointed a loaded firearm at his wife?

Furthermore, as the public and media are still bewildered over Kelley’s ability to legally purchase guns following his 2012 military conviction due to his prior violent abuse, information concerning his alleged plot to kill military superiors has been completely underreported and by the looks of it, may have even gone unpunished.

According to official reports, Kelley was sentenced to a year’s confinement, reducing rank from an airman first-class (A1C) to airman basic. Additionally, after being convicted of crimes by a military court in 2012, he received a “bad conduct discharge” following an apparent plea deal.

The NY Times added the following details regarding the military court case:

“Prosecutors withdrew several other charges as part of their plea agreement with Mr. Kelley, including allegations that he repeatedly pointed a loaded gun at his wife.

He was ultimately sentenced in November that year to 12 months’ confinement and reduction to the lowest possible rank. His final duty title was “prisoner.””

QUESTION: Did Kelley’s plea agreement also include the exclusion of charges concerning his alleged death threat plot against military superiors at the CIA linked Holloman Air Force base?

Moreover, if that wasn’t a part of the plea, how was Kelley not dishonorably discharged due to the severity of charges he faced from military superiors?

Although we’ve been told this latest ‘soft target’ shooting spree on American soil was carried out by yet another lone gunman, there have also been questions raised concerning a shooter allegedly firing from the roof top down on to church parishioners below.

Watch and listen to shooting survivor Rosanne Solis, as she recounts what she witnessed during the First Baptist Church shooting…

: Is it also possible that Solis saw multiple shooters at the First Baptist Church? If not, how did Kelley swiftly move from the roof top location to ground level in a matter of a few minutes, assuming the account told by Solis is true?

The Sutherland Springs mass shooting, along with other high-profile ‘active shooter’ incidents this year and year’s past – have once again predictably sparked socio-political hot button issues concerning gun reform, background checks, mental illness and SSRI prescription drugs. This is something that has prompted critics to consider that there might be even more to the story.

Below is a CNN video report discussing the lengthy criminal background of the First Baptist Church gunman. Note the strong emphasis in this report regarding Kelley’s access to weaponry rather than a deeper analysis over how he received such a relaxed military conviction…


Drills, Dupes & Informants?

A day after the suspicious San Bernardino shooting in 2015, San Antonio’s nonprofit Alamo Community Group began practicing active shooter scenarios with employees. San Antonio is only 35 miles from where the Sutherland Springs mass shooting took place and a city that has been rigorously training for mass casualty scenarios for the last five years, holding active shooter drills with approximately one hundred officers a week over at least the last couple of years. Here’s a passage from an ABC affiliate in San Antonio on the matter:

“Though it [the training] is simulated for active shooting scenarios, the training could easily be applied to many other mass casualty situations as well. In past two years, about 4,000 people have been involved in San Antonio’s new rescue task force training program.”

As 21 WIRE has documented over the years, many so-called shooting/terror/attacks involve individuals being monitored by security services prior to an alleged act taking place. A place where a ‘lone wolf’ graduates into the ranks of a known wolf. Although the military wasn’t officially keeping Kelley under watch, his case profile does exhibit potential signs of a possible informant status due to the litany of charges he managed to avoid through a cushy plea deal with the military. Historically, government operators have often made use of low-life criminals, and mentally disturbed individuals to fulfill various roles in entrapment stings or sometimes as bona fide ‘solo actors’ in an actual attacks.

Links between security agencies, military facilities and alleged attackers with a criminal history should arouse suspicion if they become connected to any future crimes.

In January of 2015, a strategic security service think-tank known as The Soufan Group, reported that a larger national security threat resides with those who’ve had a lengthy criminal background with known ties to security agencies:

“The Soufan Group, a New York think tank, said a better term for “lone wolves” would be “known wolves“, given how many are already known to Western intelligence agencies before they strike.

“These individuals, acting alone or in small groups … have been on the radar of various agencies and organisations, highlighting the difficulty of effectively monitoring and managing people at the nexus of criminality and terrorism,” it said in a report this week…”

Domestically in America, it has been well documented that the FBI created a counter-intelligence program known as COINTELPRO (similar in scope to the CIA’s Operation CHAOS), not only as a way to influence, but also a way to disrupt and coerce both left and right-wing political factions from the inside out. The FBI program infiltrated countless groups and movements across the political spectrum.

Over the past several years, the FBI has been routinely caught foiling their very own “terror plots.”

Following one of America’s most deadly mass shootings at the Orlando Pulse nightclub, reports revealed that the FBI had a close relationship with the suspected attacker through the use of a well-known confidential informant. Similarly, recent reports state that “FBI, court filings have revealed how the agency allowed an alleged ‘home grown’ ISIS attack to take place in Garland, Texas.” 21WIRE had previously uncovered the suspicious nature of the cartoon/shooting event in Garland when it occurred.

In 2015, another strange informant case/FBI sting attempted to persuade a group into attacking the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center in Milwaukee.

QUESTION: Is it possible the FBI or any or intelligence agency played some part in the Sutherland Springs church shooting – whether inadvertently or otherwise?

FBI informants have reportedly played a ‘central role’ in over 50% of all domestic terror cases in the United States since 2009. According to reports, informants might earn up to $100,000 per case, as they are meant to “build relationships with persons of interest.”

While the Sutherland Springs shooting is not considered a terror case, it does fit the profile of possible soft target scenarios outlined by the FBI.

Here at 21WIRE, we’ve kept a running report on many ‘known wolf’ actors and other suspicious intelligence informant cases:

Tamerlan Tsarnaev (see his story here)
Buford Rogers
 (see his story here)
Jerad Miller (see his story here)
Naji Mansour (see his story here)
Quazi Mohammad Nafis (see his story here)
Mohamed Osman Mohamud (see his story here)
Timothy McVeigh (see his story here)
Salim Benghalem (see his story here)
Michael Adebolajo (see his story here)
Daba Deng (see his story here)
Elton Simpson (see his story here)
Man Haron Monis (see his story here)
Abu Hamza (see his story here)
Haroon Rashid Aswat (see his story here)
Mark Vicars (see his story here)
Glen Rodgers (see his story here)
Omar Mateen (see his story here)
Samy Mohamed Hamzeh (see his story here)
Tashfeen Malik (see her story here)
Djamel Beghal  (see his story here)
Anjem Choudary (see his story here)
Cherif Kouachi (see his story here)
Said Kouachi (see his story here)
Amedy Coulibaly (see his story here)
Hayat Boumeddiene (see her story here)
Salah Abdeslam (see his story here)
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau (see his story here)
Nidal Malik Hassan (see his story here)
Abdelhakim Dekhar  (see his story here)
Abdelhamid Abaaoud (see his story here)
Samy Amimour (see his story here)
Ismaël Omar Mostefaï (see his story here)
Mohamed Lahouij Bouhlel (see his story here)
Anis Amri (see his story here)
Esteban Santiago-Ruiz (see his story here)
Abdulkadir Masharipov (see his story here)
Khalid Masood (see his story here)
Khuram Butt (see his story here)
Youssef Zaghba (see his story here)
Sayfullo Saipov (see his story here)

According to pastor Frank Pomeroy, who was out-of-town at the time of the shooting with his wife Sherri, the hundred member First Baptist Church, is slated to be demolished sometime soon. However, prior to the demolition, the site will become a temporary memorial and the building will be “scrubbed down and whitewashed,” as white chairs will be placed inside to remember those who died.

There are still a number of questions following the Sutherland Springs mass shooting tragedy…

21WIRE associate editor Shawn Helton is a researcher and writer, specializing in forensic analysis of high-profile crime scene and counter terrorism investigations, and the deconstruction and analysis of the mass-media coverage surrounding those cases. He has compiled an extensive body of work covering a number of high-profile events since 2012.

READ MORE DAILY SHOOTER NEWS AT21st Century Wire Daily Shooter Files

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