The wife of the killer who gunned down 26 worshippers as they attended their local church in the small town of Sutherland Springs, Texas, has spoken out about her murderous spouse.
Calling him a “broken man,” Danielle Kelley, 23, talked to the San Antonio Express-News about the events that led up to that fateful day, noting that her deranged husband once had some faith in the Lord. “No matter what, I will love him,” Danielle said of her husband, Devin Kelley, who eventually succumbed to a self-inflicted gunshot wound following the mass slayings. “Even though he went off and ruined more people’s lives than I could ever imagine.”
But after Devin was kicked out of the Air Force for sneaking weapons onto the base and a brutal assault on his step-son, Danielle says that his demeanor changed dramatically. He began to act strangely, accompanying her on every trip outside of the house. The pair became distanced from the church family at Sutherland Springs, where Danielle’s mother was a devoted member.
Then, when they welcomed their second child into the world, Devin began sending threatening messages to Danielle’s mom, Michelle. “I will personally make it my mission to destroy your entire life. I suggest you don’t test my resolve,” he wrote. Devin became severely depressed and began to unravel psychologically. “He was slowly becoming not the person that he was,” Danielle explained. “He was shutting down.”
Acquaintances and classmates of the shooter previously described a troubled man who was militant in his atheism. “He was always talking about how people who believe in God were stupid and trying to preach his atheism,” wrote former classmate Nina Rose Nava in a Facebook post, according to the Daily Mail. “I legit just deleted him off my fb cause I couldn’t stand his post.”
“I removed him off FB for those same reasons!” replied Christopher Leo Longoria. “He was being super nagtive [sic] all the timd [sic].”
Danielle stated that her husband used to have a faith in God, but soon became disillusioned with Christianity as his mental state deteriorated.
“Devin was sick. He lost who he was. Because the real Devin would’ve never hurt babies. He was a family person. He would never have hurt anybody,” Danielle said. When she was at Sutherland Springs, he laughed during the sermons. “He lost the touch of reality.”
He kept telling his wife that if there was a God, He wouldn’t let their family go through the hardships they were facing.
Many of those who her husband executed were personal acquaintances of Danielle. Now, she is racked with guilt and shame over what he did.
“If I could take everything, all the pain, and hold it on my own I would, so nobody else would hurt. If it was only me that could’ve died and everybody else could’ve been alive, I would’ve gladly taken that,” Danielle declared.
“A lot of people who died were very special to me.”
Since that awful day on November 5 of last year, Kelley has been welcomed back into the Sutherland Springs Church community but has continued to struggle with her personal faith. “I was just like ‘You let us fall.’ And I felt alone. And then there are times where I don’t even — I just, can’t. People talk about God and I just can’t stand it,” she said.
But she knows that without God, she has absolutely no hope of healing. Accepted by this small town community of faith, Kelly knows she must press forward for the sake of her family.
Stephen Willeford, the heroic local who fired on Devin as he left the church, has been kind to Danielle, offering to pray with her when she shows up to the grieving congregation.
As for “why” — Danielle says she will never know the reason behind her husband’s vile actions.
“Nobody truly knows somebody,” she said. “You can live with that person and love that person for years, and you still cannot truly know that person because you can”t know their inner thoughts and feelings.”