By Frederick H. Lowe
Devin P. Kelley, who shot to death 26 people, mostly children and seniors, in a rural Texas church during Sunday services last week, admired Dylann S. Roof, who murdered nine black parishioners at an African-American church in Charleston, S.C. on June 17th, 2015.
The 26-year-old Kelley wrote on a friend’s Facebook page that he was obsessed with Roof, a white supremacist, who briefly sat in on Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Bible study before pulling out a pistol and shooting to death most of its participants.
Kelley, an atheist, taught vacation Bible school at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where he later murdered many of its parishioners, reports The Christian Post newspaper.
Jessika Edwards, a former U.S. Air Force staff sergeant who served with Kelley in the Air Force, said during a New York Times interview that Kelley became obsessed with the news that Roof killed nine people, the paper reported Sunday.
“He was excited about it. He went on and on and on about it, saying isn’t it cool? Isn’t it cool? Have you watched any of the videos? Edwards said. She told Kelley he wasn’t acting normal and needed help.
Following the deadly shooting in First Baptist Church, Kelley ran away before killing himself.
Roof said he murdered Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal parishioners to start a race war. Police arrested him after the massacre, bought him lunch and drove him to jail. Roof was 22 when murdered the parishioners.
On Tuesday, a jury of 10 women and two men recommended that Roof receive the death penalty. Judge Richard Gergel will formally sentence him to death on Wednesday.