November 6, 2017 One of the victims killed during Sunday’s mass shooting inside a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas has been identified as the gunman’s grandmother in law.
Lula Woicinski White, 71, a member of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs was attending services when her granddaughter’s husband busted into the doors of the church and began walking down the aisle, shooting at parishioners. Twenty six people ranging in age from 18 months to 71 years old were killed and twenty others injured and transported to area hospitals.
Federal investigators say the shooter displayed a pattern of violence spanning several years. Devin Kelley was kicked out of the Air Force in 2014 following a court-martial two years after he enlisted for abusing his wife and reportedly hitting her child hard enough to fracture his skull. Records show Kelley served 12 months’ confinement after a 2012 court-martial. Also in 2014, Kelley was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty in Colorado after a man saw him punch a dog several times. He was also the focus of a protective order issued in Colorado in 2015. The U.S. Air Force said Monday that one of its divisions didn’t alert federal authorities about Kelley’s 2012 domestic violence conviction — which could have prevented him from purchasing the firearm used to carry out the attack.
Law enforcement officials ruled out terrorism almost immediately after Sunday morning’s mass shooting. Residents of the small town, located about 30 miles Southeast of San Antonio said word about who the shooter was got around fast-but the question was why did he do it? Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director Freeman Martin said the motive for the massacre—the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history appeared stem from a domestic situation and was not racially or religiously motivated.
Sunday’s mass shooting comes less than six weeks after another deadly Church shooting. On September 24, a gunman opened fired at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee killing one person and injuring seven others.
In both the Tennessee and Texas Church shootings, law enforcement officials credit armed citizens with intervening and saving the lives of many others.
Cynthia Hodges holds a M.A. in Political Science from NEIU in Chicago, Illinois and a Post-Grad Professional Certificate in Disaster and Terrorism Management from University of North Carolina -Chapel Hill. In addition to a successful writing career, Cynthia is in the process of writing a book on the role of private security guards as first responders in the post 9/11 America. "My career has been a balance of security and education, and my passion for Homeland Security while protecting individual's Constitutional rights has grown as a result of the two."