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Texas sheriff says gunman’s former in-laws go to targeted church

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott attends a candlelight vigil held for the victims of a fatal shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. (AP Photo/Laura Skelding)

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas — A sheriff said the former in-laws of a man suspected of killing 26 people at a Texas church attended services there “from time to time.”

Wilson County Sheriff Joe D. Tackitt Jr. told CNN on Monday morning that the former in-laws weren’t in attendance Sunday when the shooting occurred. He said it wasn’t clear why the gunman, identified as Devin Kelley, picked that day for the shooting.

The mass shooting occurred Sunday morning at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio. About 20 others were wounded in the attack.

Two officials spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to comment publicly.

Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said records confirmed Kelley received a bad conduct discharge after being court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his spouse and child.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has suggested there may have a connection between the gunman who killed 26 people in a South Texas community and the Baptist church where the slayings happened.

Abbott told ABC’s “Good Morning America” he expected people will learn about any such link “in a few days.” He said he didn’t want to go further, saying “law enforcement is looking very aggressively into this.”

“I don’t think this was just a random act of violence,” Abbott told anchor George Stephanopoulos.

But when pressed to elaborate on his connection theory, the governor replied that “it’s very important that law enforcement have the ability … to tie the loose ends of this investigation up.”

Abbott called Kelley, “a very deranged individual.”

Authorities did not announce initially his name at a news conference on the shooting, saying only that the suspect was a white male in his 20s.

The U.S. official told the AP that Kelley lived in a San Antonio suburb and that he doesn’t appear to be linked to organized terrorist groups.

The official said investigators were looking at social media posts Kelley may have made in the days before the attack, including one that appeared to show an AR-15 style semi-automatic weapon.

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