Texas Church Shooter Previously Escaped From Mental Health Facility, Police Report Says

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas (CBSNewYork) – New details are emerging about the gunman who massacred 26 people in a Texas church Sunday.

Devin Kelley previously escaped from a mental facility and tried smuggling weapons onto a military base, according to a police report obtained by CBS News.

Meanwhile, we’re hearing from those inside the church when the shooting happened. They say the gunman was methodical – walking up and down the church aisles, shooting at people as they lay down in the pews.

They also say he was shouting, ‘Everybody’s going to die (expletive).’

MORE FROM CBS NEWS

Rosanne Solis was sitting near the door of the First Baptist Church with her husband, Joaquin Ramirez, when Kelley blasted his way inside.

“He was going through the aisles, all around, with his — it wasn’t a hand gun, it was a pistol or… He was looking all around and shooting at everybody, just going through the rows shooting at everybody,” she said. “First he went in straight to where the guys sing.”

She covered her ears and laid below a pew with others.

“The guy was still shooting, he was shooting — I mean, I think he shot more than 300 shots. So then it stopped for, I would say, like five minutes. And then I guess he must have reloaded again and started again. All these people screaming and bleeding, and nobody would get there to save us from the shooter,” she said. “The bullets were coming right down. I could see it on the carpet, the bullets hitting, passing me like that. I could see it on the carpet and I said, if I don’t move from here, I’m going to die.”

Solis was shot in the arm, and her husband was hit by shrapnel. They survived by playing dead.

PHOTOS: Texas Church Massacre

Nearby in the church, David Brown’s mother was also trying to survive but was terrified her turn would soon come.

“Eventually ended up where she was, which was on the very back pew, and started shooting the lady next to her multiple times. And then she was pretty certain she was next and her life was about to end,” he said. “Then, somebody with a gun showed up at the front of the church, caught the shooter’s attention, and he left. And that was the end of the ordeal.”

A police report says the gunman escaped from an El Paso mental facility in 2012 after trying to smuggle weapons onto an Air Force base and making death threats against his military superiors. Police found him at a bus stop and brought him back to the facility.

The report is also raising more questions about how Kelley was able to buy guns, despite a known history of violent behavior, including domestic violence.

Documents show he pleaded guilty to striking, choking, kicking and pulling the hair of his then-wife on two separate occasions.

“What he was convicted of should have stopped him from getting a gun,” said Col. Don Christensen, a former U.S. Air Force prosecutor.

The sheriff said the church’s pastor knew Kelley but didn’t want him at the church.

“He just thought that he was not a good person to be around,” Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt said.

Investigators are not sure what prompted the shooter’s rampage, though they are looking into an ongoing conflict with his in-laws.

“We have no reason to believe this crime was politically motivated,” Texas Department of Public Safety regional director Freeman Martin said Monday.

In addition to the 26 killed, a number of shooting victims remain hospitalized. Ten are in critical condition, some of whom are children.

Efforts are underway to help the victims’ families with burial expenses. One funeral home is offered caskets for all the victims.

More From CBS New York

CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
Get Our Morning Briefs
Bloomberg WCBS Tri-State Business Index

Watch & Listen LIVE