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Texas church shooter once escaped from a mental hospital: reports

FBI agents search the grounds of the First Baptist Church after a gunman killed 26 people during Sunday services in Sutherland Springs, Texas
SUZANNE CORDEIRO (AFP)
Devin Patrick Kelley had reportedly once been caught sneaking firearms on to the Air Force base

The man who shot dead 26 people in a Texas church once escaped from a mental hospital and made death threats against his military superiors while in the US Air Force, according to a police report.

The police report, obtained by Houston TV station KPRC, also said that Devin Patrick Kelley had once been caught sneaking firearms on to the Air Force base in New Mexico where he was stationed.

Kelley, 26, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Sunday after killing 26 people and injuring 20 with an assault rifle at a church in the small Texas town of Sutherland Springs.

Kelley served in the Air Force from 2010 to 2014.

He was court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his wife and stepchild, fracturing the baby's skull, and sentenced to 12 months in confinement.

He received a bad conduct discharge in 2014.

According to the report by police in El Paso, Texas, Kelley was reported missing in June 2012 from a psychiatric facility where he had been sent ahead of his assault conviction.

The person at the facility, Peak Behavioral Health Services, who reported him missing told police that Kelley "suffered from mental disorders."

He said Kelley was a "danger to himself and others" and had been "caught sneaking fire arms onto Holloman Air Force base," where he was stationed.

Police were also told that Kelley had been accused of "attempting to carry out death threats" against his "military chain of command."

While receiving the missing persons report police were told that Kelley had been located and taken into custody.

The authorities have said that Kelley's rampage may have stemmed from a "domestic situation" and that he sent threatening texts to his mother-in-law.

The Air Force has said Kelley's domestic violence conviction was not passed on to a national database that lists persons barred from purchasing firearms.

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