Hundreds of shell casings, 15 empty magazines found at church


6:20 p.m. update: Authorities found hundreds of shell casings and 15 empty magazines at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs after a shooter opened fire there, killing 26 people, including the unborn child of a pregnant woman, officials said at a news briefing Monday evening.

According to Texas Department Public Safety regional director Freeman Martin, authorities found the suspected shooter inside his vehicle with three wounds: a leg and torso wound from a gunfight with a citizen and a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Of those injured but not killed, 10 people remain in critical condition and four are in serious condition, Martin said.

3:05 p.m. update: Media reports have identified Stephen Willeford as the bystander who exchanged gunfire with the Sutherland Springs church shooter who killed 26 people Sunday.

The Dallas Morning News confirmed the identity of the 55-year-old man and his role in stopping the attack on the First Baptist Church by the suspected gunman, Devin Patrick Kelley.

“I didn’t want this and I want the focus to be on my friends,” Willeford, 55, told the Dallas Morning News. “I have friends in that church. I was terrified while this was going on.”

In an interview with CNN, Ken Leonard of Dallas, a cousin of Willeford’s, recounted what his cousin had told him of Sunday’s gunfight.

Willeford had heard gunfire but it was his daughter who first drove to the church to see what was happening and returned to tell him that “there was a man in black that was shooting people at the church,” Leonard said.

“So Stephen went into his safe, grabbed his AR — his AR-15, same style weapon as used by the shooter — grabbed a handful of ammo and a magazine and ran barefooted toward the shooting. He said he was loading the magazine as fast as he could,” Leonard said.

Leonard says Willeford shot Kelley three times. The first shot was to the velco strap connecting the front and back plate of the shooter’s body armor.

After Willeford shot him the first time, Kelley dropped his weapon and went to an SUV, and Willeford shot him a second time. Kelley returned fire through the back of the SUV, and Willeford then shot him a third time.

Willeford then enlisted the help of Johnnie Langendorff and his pickup to chase Kelley into nearby Guadalupe County.

2:45 p.m. update: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas visited Sutherland Springs on Monday, telling reporters that “we don’t need politics right now,” when asked about possible gun control legislation.

Instead, Cruz said, we should be celebrating the “bravery and courage” of the bystander who exchanged gunfire with Devin Patrick Kelley, the man who police say had opened fire on worshippers at the First Baptist Church on Sunday.

“It is an unfortunate thing that the immediate place the media goes after any tragedy, after any murder, is politicizing it,” he said. “Evil is evil is evil,” Cruz added.

Cruz’s appearance comes after a visit by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday and ahead of a visit by Vice President Mike Pence scheduled for Wednesday.

“Even in the hours after this tragedy, there’s also inspiration and hope,” Cruz said. “We’re seeing the community come together … and in the face of unspeakable evil, we’re seeing Texans helping Texans.”

10:55 a.m. update: SUTHERLAND SPRINGSThe shooting rampage in Sutherland Springs that left 26 dead and more than 20 wounded on Sunday morning was likely motivated by a “domestic situation,” and was not religiously motivated, authorities said Monday morning.

Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director Freeman Martin said investigators have learned that before Sunday’s attack, suspected shooter Devin Patrick Kelley had sent threatening text messages to his mother-in-law, who attended the church but was not present during the shooting.

RELATED: Sutherland Springs church shooting victims identified

Martin said he could not go into more specifics on what led to the shooting.

Martin said of the 20 wounded, six were in stable condition, four were still listed in serious condition and 10 more were in critical condition.

The dead have all been removed from the church and will be taken to San Antonio where autopsies will be conducted.

Kelley’s body was taken to Travis County for an autopsy, authorities said.

A pathologist will make an official ruling on the cause and manner of Kelley’s death, but preliminary details from investigators indicate that the 26-year-old likely took his own life after being wounded by a good Samaritan who confronted Kelley as he left the church.

Martin said Kelley used his cell phone to tell his father that he’d been shot and didn’t think he was going to make it as he was being chased from the church.

Martin said Kelley subsequently shot himself.

Fred Milanowski of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said investigators recovered a rifle that had been dropped by Kelley near the church, along with two additional handguns that were inside his vehicle.

Milanowski said he had had purchased a total of four guns, one each year since 2014. It was unclear whether Kelley’s discharge from the military barred him from purchasing or possessing weapons.

Martin said Kelley was wearing a ballistic vest with a protective plate in the front, and a black facemask with a skull pattern during the shooting.

9:30 a.m. update: As the sun rose on Monday morning in Sutherland Springs, a small town about 40 miles southeast of San Antonio, the First Baptist Church was still awash with blood.

Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt told reporters the carnage inside the church was horrific.

“Wherever you walked in the church, it was death,” Tackitt said.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, the sheriff said it was difficult to tell who was hit and who wasn’t. Everyone who came out of the church was bloody, he said. While 26 were killed and 20 more were wounded. Tackitt said some people made it out of the building physically unscathed.

Tackitt said the dead ranged in age from young children to seniors in their 70s. Parents were found lying on top of their kids, apparently trying to protect them from the barrage of gunfire in their final moments in the sanctuary.

“It’s hard enough to see an adult.” Tackitt said. “But when you see babies — I’m talking, you know, 3, 4, 5 and 6-years-old, 10-years-old — it’s just hard.

Authorities identified the gunman as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley of New Braunfels, a former member of the U.S. Air Force who was court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his wife and child, and later booted from service, an Air Force spokesman confirmed.

Tackitt said Kelley’s former in-laws attended services at the church from time to time, but none of his relatives were there during the attack on Sunday.

Tackitt said Kelley fired several rounds outside of the building before he walked in and continued shooting.

Those inside at worship had no way out, he said.

An armed man confronted Kelley when he left the church and fired on him, but it was unclear whether his bullets found their mark. Kelley took off in a vehicle, and the good Samaritan ran to another vehicle at a stop sign and told the driver to give chase.

READ MORE: Bystander, neighbor chase gunman who killed 26 at Texas church

Tackitt said there were more shots fired on the road way, but additional details weren’t immediately known, nor was the motive for the attack, now ranked as the deadliest in Texas history.

“We don’t know exactly what actually caused it, but he must have had a reason for coming to the church,” Tackitt said.

EARLIER: The Texas Department of Public Safety has confirmed that 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley of New Braunfels is the suspect in the mass shooting Sunday at a South Texas church that killed at least 26 people and wounded 20 more.

VIDEO: Sutherland Springs left in shock after mass shooting

The agency, which confirmed Kelley’s name around 6:20 a.m. Monday, said it would be releasing more information about the incident later in the day.

Investigators have not yet determined a motive for the attack, but one of the many questions remaining about the shooting surrounds the relationship between Kelley and the victims at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio.

RELATED: What people are saying about the Sutherland Springs shooting

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Monday, suggested that he expects people will learn about any such link “in a few days,” adding that “law enforcement is looking very aggressively into this.”

“I don’t think this was just a random act of violence,” Abbott said. He called the shooter “a very deranged individual.”

On CNN, Wilson County Sheriff Joe D. Tackitt Jr. said Kelley’s in-laws attended services at the church “from time to time,” but added that they were not there Sunday when the shooting occurred. Tackitt said it wasn’t clear why the gunman picked that day for the shooting.

PHOTOS: Scenes from Sutherland Springs after shooting kills at least 26

An Air Force spokeswoman told the Associated Press that records confirm Kelley received a bad conduct discharge after being court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his spouse and child.

Texas officials described the attack on Sunday as the deadliest shooting in Texas history.

According to authorities, a gunman began attacking worshippers at the First Baptist Church around 11:20 a.m., sending them running into an open field and toward a nearby country store for safety.

The ages of the victims ranged from 5 to 72, according to officials.

Statesman reporters Tony Plohetski, Mary Huber and Rachel Rice contributed to this article

This report contains material from the Associated Press



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