The sick shooter of a rural Texas church admired Dylann Roof and bought animals just for “target practice,” one of his former supervisors at the Air Force said.
Jessika Edwards told CNN she served at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico with Devin Kelley between 2010 and 2012.
Years before Kelley stormed First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs and killed 26 people, he raised numerous red flags, causing “problem after problem,” Edwards said.
The pair reconnected over Facebook starting in 2014 after they’d both become civilians — and Kelley seemed even more disturbed. He was thrilled after Roof stormed a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June 2015, killing nine worshipers.
“He would say ‘isn’t it cool? Did you watch the news?'” Edwards told CNN. “He would say he wished he had the nerve to do it, but all he would be able to do is kill animals.”
When Edwards served as staff sergeant, she warned Air Force higher-ups that Kelley, 26, would “shoot the place up” if they disciplined him too harshly for his numerous infractions.
Among her other memories of Kelley: an obsession with mass murders, a threat to kill himself amid severe depression, and a claim he bought dogs on Craigslist “for target practice.”
Victims of the Texas church shooting
Edwards found the last admission so disturbing she stopped communicating with Kelley on Facebook.
She wrote in one of her last messages to him that he could call her if he ever felt like he was going to hurt himself or others. But he never called.
“It’s upsetting because you feel like we failed,” Edwards told the network. “But in reality we did everything we possibly could do.”
The revelations only added to the portrait of Kelley as a deeply disturbed individual who had shown signs for years that he was dangerous and demented.
In 2012 Kelley was sentenced to 12 months confinement in the Air Force’s brig for beating his wife and stepson. He shook his toddler stepson so hard he fractured the child’s skull.
While being investigated by the Air Force for the domestic violence case, Kelley escaped from a mental institution — but not before boasting to other patients that he’d recently gone on an online firearm shopping spree.
Kelley was taking medication for depression, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder at the time, according to reports.
After serving his sentence he was kicked out of the Air Force for bad conduct.
In 2014 he was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty for punching a dog several times.
The domestic violence conviction should have resulted in Kelley being listed in an FBI database preventing him from being able to buy a firearm.
But the Air Force acknowledged Monday that it failed to enter Kelley’s criminal convictions into the database, as required by the Pentagon.
That allowed Kelley to pass background checks and buy a Ruger AR-556 rifle before he opened fire inside the church wearing black tactical gear.