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Texas Gunman Devin Kelley Escaped from Mental Health Facility in 2012

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NBC News

by Daniel Arkin and Tracy Connor

The gunman accused of the worst mass murder in Texas history escaped from a mental health hospital during his stint in the Air Force, according to a 2012 police report.

Police took Devin Kelley into custody on June 7, 2012 at a bus terminal in downtown El Paso, Texas, where he had planned to flee by bus after breaking out of Peak Behavioral Health Services, some 10 miles away in New Mexico, according to NBC Houston affiliate KPRC. Kelley, who was 21 at the time of the escape, had been sent to the facility after he was accused of assaulting his wife and infant stepson.

A witness told El Paso officers that Kelley "was a danger to himself and others as he had already been caught sneaking firearms onto Holloman Air Force Base," where he was stationed at the time, according to the police report obtained by KPRC. He "was attempting to carry out death threats" he had made against his military superiors, the report said.

 Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek has confirmed that Kelley — who joined the military after graduating from New Braunfels High School in 2009 — was court-martialed in 2012 on two charges of assault.

A retired Air Force colonel who supervised prosecutors when Kelley was brought before the court-martial said Kelley was convicted of fracturing his baby stepson's skull and assaulting his first wife, Tessa, in the incident at Holloman.

He was confined for a year, given a bad conduct discharge and reduced in rank to E-1, or airman basic, Stefanek said. The military failed to enter the domestic violence case into a database that would have made it illegal for him to buy a gun, officials said.

Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/texas-church-shooting/texas-gunman-devin-kelley-escaped-mental-health-facility-2012-n818496