Sutherland Springs church shooter lied on background check to be security guard

By Cathy Tatom - Investigative Producer

HOUSTON - Devin Kelley, the man accused of murdering 26 people in a Sutherland Springs church earlier this month, failed to truthfully answer questions on the criminal background check he used to become an unarmed security guard at Schlitterbahn, New Braunfels, KPRC2 has learned.

Channel 2 Investigates obtained Kelley's application submitted to the Texas Department of Public Safety in June of this year.

READ THE DOCUMENTS

You can see Kelley answered "no" to questions concerning criminal convictions and whether he had been discharged from the military.  

The Air Force told KPRC2 that earlier this month Kelley received a bad conduct discharge following a general court martial in 2013. 

Kelley was convicted on two counts of assault involving his wife and child. He was sentenced to 12 months confinement and a reduction in his military grade. His attempt to have that conviction overturned failed.   

READ: Why Kelley served only 9 months of sentence

Former U.S. Army Judge Advocate Rick Rousseau told KPRC2 that Kelley's military conviction was equivalent to "basically a felony" in civilian offenses. 

The Air Force also admitted it failed to follow policies for putting Kelley's domestic violence conviction into the National Criminal Information Center database.

Databases used by DPS to verify Kelley's answers did not flag issues with the application. We asked DPS spokesperson Tom Vinger to explain how that happened. He sent the following statement:  

"The suspect did have a non-commissioned, unarmed private security license (similar to that of an unarmed uniform guard at a shopping mall). There were no disqualifiers entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database that would have precluded the suspect from receiving a private security license. Private security background checks include fingerprints, and criminal history checks with the applicable state and federal databases. The suspect cleared that background check when it was run."

READ: Kelley escaped mental health facility months after attack on wife

Winter Prosapio, Schlitterbahn's corporate director of Ccommunications, told Channel 2 Investigates all of its employees over the age of 18 are required to get a criminal background check through the Texas Department of Public Safety.  

In a statement, Prosapio said, "We, like the rest of our community, were horrified to learn of the tragedy in Sutherland Springs at the First Baptist Church. We are keeping everyone impacted by this malicious act in our thoughts and our prayers.

"Devin Patrick Kelley worked briefly -- 5 1/2 weeks -- this summer at Schlitterbahn New Braunfels as a seasonal unarmed night security guard. His employment was terminated in July. Kelley passed a Texas DPS background check. We remain confident in Texas DPS background check system while recognizing that the Department must rely on others to correctly report crimes under their jurisdiction. It is our hope that this tragedy will result in a redoubling of efforts to accurately and swiftly report crimes by every jurisdiction." 

Kelley, 26, of New Braunfels, killed 26 people at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs on Nov. 5, before killing himself.

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