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What We Know About the Gun Used in the Texas Church Shooting

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Updated: | Originally published: ;

Devin Patrick Kelley, the man officials have identified as the suspect in a mass shooting at a Texas church that left at least 26 people dead on Sunday, used a Ruger AR-556 rifle during his rampage.

Freeman Martin, the regional director of Texas Department of Public Safety, said during a news conference that the Kelley arrived at a Valero gas station near the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, at 11.20 a.m. on Sunday. Kelley, who was wearing tactical gear and a ballistic vest, then got out of his vehicle, crossed the street to the church, and began his assault.

As Kelley left the church, a local resident grabbed his own weapon and engaged him. “The suspect dropped his rifle, which was a Ruger AR assault-type rifle, and fled from the church,” Martin said on Sunday.

Kelley was later found dead in his vehicle with what may have been a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said during a Monday news conference.

Here’s more about the gun Devin Kelley is suspected of using in the Texas church shooting.

He Used a Ruger AR-556 Rifle

Kelley bought the Ruger AR-556 rifle in April of 2016 from Academy Sports & Outdoors in San Antonio, CNN reports, citing a law enforcement official.

The AR-556 is a semi-automatic weapon with a suggested retail price of $799, though it appears to be available at lower prices from several retailers. It’s similar to the AR-15, a weapon based on the military M-16 rifle. It’s known for being highly customizable.

Unlike the M-16, the AR-556 does not have burst or automatic fire modes. But modifications like a bump stock can allow AR-15-style rifles to fire at rates closer to those of automatic weapons. (Such modifications were reportedly used by the shooter in Las Vegas in October.)

He Also Had a Glock 9mm and a Ruger 22 in His Vehicle

Aside from the AR-556, Kelley had two handguns in his vehicle, according to Fred Milanowski, special agent in charge of the Houston Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Those guns were a Glock 9mm and Ruger 22.

All three firearms were purchased by the suspect, Milanowski said during Monday morning’s news conference.

It’s Unclear if the Weapons Were Purchased Legally

Kelley, a former member of the U.S. Air Force, was court-martialed in 2012 after assaulting his spouse and child, the Los Angeles Times reports. Kelley served a year in confinement, had his rank reduced and received a bad conduct discharge.

Members of the military who are dishonorably discharged are legally barred from purchasing a gun. But it isn’t clear if the same restriction applies to those who receive a bad conduct discharge.

Milanowski said authorities were still gathering information to determine the exact nature of Kelley’s discharge. Until that task is complete, “we will not have a determination on if this individual was prohibited from possessing or purchasing firearms,” Milanowski said.

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