One of the gunshop owners who sold firearms to Texas church shooter Devin Patrick Kelley has spoken out and revealed that he passed a background test twice.
Kelley, 26, killed 26 people and injured 20 on Sunday when he opened fire at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. He later committed suicide.
After the deadly incident, investigators discovered that Kelley had bought four firearms in the four previous years, despite having a domestic abuse conviction on his record that should have precluded him from buying a gun.
But the Air Force revealed on Monday that an administrative error resulted in Kelley’s name never being added to the database gunshops use to screen prospective buyers.
In a Tuesday interview, Jeff Lepp, owner of Specialty Sports in Colorado Springs, Colorado, revealed that he sold Kelley two of his guns but says he passed a background check both times.
‘You never want to sell something to someone that will commit any form of crime, let alone a mass murder like this,’ Lepp told KENS5.
He says he wants to know what happened to cause the system to fail.
‘There needs to be a way to solve the issue of whatever it was that caused this to disappear,’ Lepp said.
Kelley bought his first gun – a Glock 9mm handgun – from Specialty Sports in December 2014. He bought another gun from the store a year later, but Lepp doesn’t specify what kind of gun that was, other than to say it wasn’t the rifle used in the shooting.
The rifle, a Ruger AR-556, was bought at an Academy Sports store in San Antonio in April 2016. Kelley’s fourth gun was bought at another Academy Sports branch in San Antonio sometime this year.
The rifle was left behind at the scene, while police found a Ruger .22 and the Glock 9mm in his car after he committed suicide. It’s unclear if he fired either of those during the shooting, other than to kill himself.
Lepp says he doesn’t remember selling the gun to Kelley, but his store sells to ‘a lot of people’.
Nonetheless, the tragedy – and his connection to it – has left him shaken.
‘I could not imagine something worse happening to myself or anybody I know,’ Lepp said.