An ex-wife of Devin Kelley, who authorities have identified as the gunman responsible for the mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, earlier this month, described his alleged abuse in a television interview.
“He just had a lot of demons or hatred inside of him,” Tessa Brennaman, 25, said on CBS’ Inside Edition.
Kelley had a history of domestic violence; TIME reported earlier this week that, in 2012, Tessa Kelley accused him of beating and choking her, breaking her infant son’s skull and threatening her with a gun. A military court charged Kelley with domestic violence and sent him to a mental hospital in New Mexico, but he briefly escaped. Later that year he pleaded guilty to domestic violence charges, and a year after that was discharged for bad conduct after spending a year in military prison, according to CBS News.
In her interview with CBS News, Brennaman describes how Kelley allegedly threatened her with a gun over a speeding ticket. “He took that gun out…. and he told me ‘do you want to die? do you want to die?'” she recalled. She also said he threatened to kill her and her whole family.
Kelley, 26, who died after the shooting, killed more than 26 people — including an 18-month-old baby — and injured at least 20 others when he opened fire at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on the morning of November 5. Officials said they believe the attack was the result of a domestic dispute, citing threatening messages Kelley had sent his mother-in-law, who was a member of the church.
According to the Associated Press, Kelley was able to obtain the weapons that he used because the Air Force did not relay his criminal past to the FBI. If they had, he wouldn’t have been able to buy a gun.