It’s always difficult to suss out the reason for a mass shooting when the killer is dead unless the killer knew he was going to die and left some testimony as to why he committed such an atrocity. However, we can often get an idea as to what the killer was like by listening to people who knew them.
In the case of the Sutherland Springs church shooter, what those who knew him describe is a disturbing portrait of an individual who had issues with religion.
Former classmates say [the killer] who stormed First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Texas and opened fire on Sunday, was ‘creepy’, ‘crazy’ and ‘weird’.
Patrick Boyce, who attended New Braunfels High School with the killer, told DailyMail.com: ‘He had a kid or two, fairly normal, but kinda quiet and lately seemed depressed.
‘He was the first atheist I met. He went Air Force after high school, got discharged but I don’t know why.
‘I was just shocked [to hear the news]. Still haven’t quite processed how he could have done that.’
Nina Rose Nava, who went to school with the gunman, wrote on Facebook: ‘In (sic) in complete shock! I legit just deleted him off my fb cause I couldn’t stand his post.
‘He was always talking about how people who believe in God we’re stupid and trying to preach his atheism’
Christopher Leo Longoria replied: ‘I removed him off FB for those same reasons! He was being super nagtive (sic) all the timd (sic).’
Yet that wasn’t always the case.
Apparently, the killer was a one-time Bible study teacher at Kingsville First Baptist Church. When or why the killer lost his faith and became a militant atheist remains unknown, as does any connection between his atheistic leanings and his actions on Sunday.
In the search for answers, there only seem to be more questions.
For example, the gunman once lived in Colorado Springs and had an unaffiliated voter registration while residing in the state. However, it appears he never used it.
He then moved to Texas, where he was from, though he apparently wasn’t a fan of the Lone Star State. As The Daily Mail reported:
However, [the gunman] recently commented on one of her Facebook posts.
‘I said I just want to move back to Texas,’ she said. ‘And he said something along the lines of “Texas isn’t any better”. Pretty much said he didn’t like Texas.
Police are continuing to investigate, if for no other reason than to make certain the killer was operating alone. This is especially important since he used a gun for his rampage despite being convicted by military court marshal on domestic violence charges which resulted in a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force that legally barred him from obtaining a firearm. Did someone help him purchase the gun or take part in the planning in any other way?
In the process, I certainly hope the police find some answers as to just why this person did what he did. While it’s certain he had some mental health issues–sane people don’t shoot up churches, after all–there is likely more to the story than just a crazy guy going a bit crazier.