Family of two Texas church shooting victims: 'It's been really hard'

Family mourns loss after church shooting.

CALDWELL - It happened Sunday afternoon at a church in Sutherland Springs, a small Texas town. It happened in a place where people feel safe, a place where people grow in their faith.

Twenty-six people, ranging in ages from 18 months to 77 years old, died after Devin Kelley opened fire on the church.

Two of those people were Richard and Theresa Rodriguez.

"On Sunday I found out like everybody else on Facebook," said Betty Soliz.

Betty's family, both in Texas and in Idaho, went on high alert when word quickly spread through the small town.

"They had sent a couple of people down to the church to check and see if he was there," said Soliz.

In the parking lot, Betty's family members found Richard's car.

"But they couldn't talk to anybody, get any information about how he was doing and if his wife was with him," Betty said.

She says they all tried to call the couple's cell phones but they never picked up.

Around 10 o'clock Sunday night they finally got an answer that rocked the family to its core. 

"They told them they were two of the individuals that was deceased in the church," said Betty. "They were a very devoted family and they always go to church and so it's just really hard to understand the whole reasoning why this happened."

'Why?' it's a question that has been asked countless times since Sunday.

"Why was he never stopped when they knew he had issues?" Betty asked.

According to police reports, Kelley had a troubled past. One instance: Back in 2012 when he escaped a mental health facility after he was caught sneaking guns onto an Air Force base in attempt to carry out death threats against military superiors.

A past riddled with warning sings, the Air Force saying it failed to report to federal law enforcement, which would have prevented Kelley from obtaining a gun.

"I mean do you say yes to gun control or do you say no?" said Betty. "A person that stopped him had a gun."

MORE: Shooting victims: Who they were, how to help

Twenty-six people had their lives cut short, leaving grieving family members and friends behind. 

"They did have a family, they did have a life, they were devoted people to the church and they did leave behind a very loving family that are going to miss them a lot," said Betty.

Betty says funeral arrangements have been made for Richard and Theresa in Texas.

© 2017 NBCNEWS.COM


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment