November 08, 2017 12:12 AM

Five years ago, the gunman responsible for Sunday’s mass shooting was sent to an inpatient mental health facility in New Mexico but escaped and fled to Texas, according to multiple reports.

On June 13, 2012, Devin Kelley, 26, reportedly fled the Peak Behavioral Health Services Center in Santa Teresa, New Mexico.

A missing person report claimed the shooter, who was in the Air Force, was ordered to submit to mental health treatment after admitting he beat his first wife and stepson, according to KHOU. One attack on the child left him with a skull fracture.

According to the shooter’s 2012 court-martial plea bargain, obtained by PEOPLE, he pled guilty to choking and kicking his wife and had a charge for pointing an unloaded gun at her dismissed.

An Air Force spokeswoman tells PEOPLE Kelley was stationed at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico, from 2010 until he was discharged in 2014, following the 2012 court-martial on accusations he assaulted his spouse and their child. The spokeswoman adds the shooter received a bad conduct discharge and 12 months’ confinement as well as a reduction in rank.


The missing person report also claimed the gunman “was a danger to himself and others as he had already been caught sneaking firearms” onto Holloman Air Force Base, where he “was attempting to carry out death threats” he had made “on his military chain of command,” according to the New York Times.

After escaping from the inpatient mental health facility, the killer crossed the border into Texas, where he was eventually detained by El Paso Police and turned over to New Mexico authorities, according to The El Paso Times.

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Following Sunday’s massacre, authorities said the shooter had “expressed anger towards his mother-in-law,” who was a member of the congregation at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, where he killed at least 26 people.

Officials said Kelley – who shot himself after going on his homicidal rampage – had sent his mother-in-law several threatening text messages, but no report was ever filed with police.

Elaine Aradillas

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Freeman Martin of the Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed that because of the 2012 court-martial, the gunman “did not have a license to carry” the rifle and two handguns investigators recovered from the crime scene, according to Reuters.

ATF Houston Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski said the shooter purchased two of the guns in Colorado and one in Texas.

“He did have a noncommissioned unarmed private security license similar to a security guard at a concert,” Martin explained, which was granted after he passed both a criminal history and background check. Authorities are trying to determine how the gunman was able to purchase the weapons.

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