Your Air Force

Texas church shooter’s widow says 1st retailer refused to sell former airman a gun

SAN ANTONIO — The widow of the man suspected of killing more than two dozen worshippers at a South Texas church says one sporting goods retailer refused to sell him the gun before he bought it from another.

Danielle Kelley said in an April 5 affidavit that, in December 2015, she and husband Devin Kelley went to a Dick’s Sporting Goods in New Braunfels, Texas.

“That day, Devin went to the gun counter to purchase a Ruger assault rifle that he had wanted for some time,” she said.

After looking over several guns, “he completed purchase paperwork there and the manager ... came over and declined to sell him the gun because of an ID issue,” she said. Devin Kelley had only a Colorado driver’s license but no Texas ID.

They never returned to Dick’s, she said. Instead, in April 2016, they went to Academy Sports and Outdoors in nearby Selma. “There, he purchased a Ruger AR 556; that day he also purchased a magazine and ammunition. It was a quick and easy transaction,” she said. About once a month, he’d return to that store and buy more magazines and multiple boxes of ammunition.

Devin Patrick Kelley was the gunman in a mass shooting at a Texas church in 2017. (Texas Department of Public Safety via AP)
Devin Patrick Kelley was the gunman in a mass shooting at a Texas church in 2017. (Texas Department of Public Safety via AP)

The affidavit was a deposition for a lawsuit the families of those slain and injured in the Nov. 5, 2017, massacre at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. The families also are suing the U.S. government , saying the U.S. Air Force failed on six separate occasions to report information that could have prevented Kelley from purchasing a gun. The Department of Defense inspector general’s report detailed Kelley’s decade-long history of violence, interest in guns and menacing behavior toward women. Kelley, who served nearly five years in the Air Force, was court-martialed and sentenced to one-year of confinement for assaulting his wife and stepson.

In her affidavit, Danielle Kelley said her husband did not disclosed his criminal background to her. “If there was anything I could’ve done or intervened to prevent the shooting, I would’ve done it,” she said.

An Academy spokeswoman didn’t respond immediately to a message from The Associated Press. However, the company has previously declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

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