Gunmen in mass shootings often have history of domestic violence

The FBI says that 54 percent of mass shootings are related to domestic or family violence.

SAN ANTONIO - The Sutherland Springs shooter had a history of domestic violence. The FBI says that 54 percent of mass shootings are related to domestic or family violence.

According to the Air Force, Devin Kelley, the Sutherland Springs gunman, was court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his wife and stepson at the time, fracturing the child's skull. The Comal County Sheriff's Office says that they were also working on a sexual assault case involving Kelley until he moved out of Texas.

CCSO says that they were called to his home in 2014 because his second wife said he was abusing her.

The suspect opened fire at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs on November 5, killing at least 26 people. Investigators say that the suspect was in a domestic dispute with his second wife and in-laws.

"There was a domestic situation going on within this family. The suspect's mother-in-law attended this church. We know that she had received threatening texts from him," one official said.

While neither the in-laws nor the ex-wife were in the church at the time of the shooting, authorities say that the incident was motivated by the domestic situation.

"That progressive nature of domestic violence, it does not begin with a final act like the one we just experienced. It begins in very subtle ways. It could be put-downs, it could be controlling behaviors," said Marta Pelaez, president of the Battered Women and Children's Shelter.

According to a study by Everytown for Gun Safety, 70 percent of mass shooting incidents (incidents where four or more people are killed with a gun) occurred at home and 53 percent of mass shooting incidents involved a current or former intimate partner or family member.

"It is in our nature to believe that we can change matters, that we can somehow influence the perpetrator, and that things will get better. Things will not get better, things will get progressively worse," Pelaez said.

In June 2016, 29-year-old Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 58 others at Orlando's Pulse Nightclub. After the massacre, Mateen's ex-wife said that he was physically abusive. 

In October 2017, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire, killing 58 people and injuring 546 more on the Las Vegas Strip. Paddock reportedly publicly berated his girlfriend on several occasions.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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