Skip to main site content.
Tessa Brennaman, ex-wife of Texas church gunman Devin Patrick Kelley. (YouTube / Inside Edition)

Horror story

Former wife of Texas church shooter says he once put a gun to her head

By WITW Staff on November 13, 2017

“He had a gun in his holster … and he took that gun out, and he put it to my temple and he told me, ‘Do you want to die?'” That is the chilling recollection of Tessa Brennaman, the first wife of Devin Patrick Kelley, the gunman who killed 26 worshipers last Sunday at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Texas. Brennaman spoke out in her first TV interview to Inside Edition and recalled the sheer terror she experienced while living with Kelley, 26, who police say took his own life after carrying out the worst mass shooting in the state’s history.

“He just had a lot of demons or hatred inside of him,” Brennaman, who married Kelley in 2011, said. The marriage lasted for just a little more than a year. In addition to the death threats, Brennaman said Kelley routinely subjected her to brutal physical abuse. “There would be times where I would be on the floor curled up and having to protect my organs because he would be violently kicking me on my side.” She also talked about the physical assault he subjected her young son to, including one attack that left the toddler with a fractured skull. In an attempt to silence her, he threatened Brennaman with death, she said. “He’s like, ‘I could just bury you somewhere in the desert and no one would ever find you.'”

Kelley was in the Air Force at the time, and Brennaman, now 25, said she alerted the Air Force to his behavior. In November 2012, Kelley pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife and stepson, and was sentenced to 12 months in a military prison. He was then given a “bad discharge” from the Air Force.

Despite the horror, Brennaman said, she never thought he would carry out a mass shooting that would leave dozens of innocent people dead. Watch a clip from the interview below.

Read the full story at The Huffington Post.


Sunday school teacher shielded grandson with her body during mass shooting at Texas church

Texas church shooter reportedly tried to bribe women to be with him

Gunman behind Texas church rampage had history of domestic violence