It was just five days before gunman Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire on the congregation in Sutherland Springs, Texas, that the members of the small church welcomed him in under much different circumstances.
On Sunday, Kelley killed 26 people and injured 30 others. But less than one week before, he brought his children to First Baptist Church's annual fall festival, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Though his attendance wasn't expected given his past troubles with his mother-in-law, Michelle Shields, who attends the church, the congregation still welcomed Kelley with open arms — some even thought he and his family were turning a corner.
“They thought, 'Oh, this is good. This is progress,'” Sutherland Springs resident Tambria Read told the Chronicle, noting Shields told her she was excited to see Kelley brought her grandchildren to the festival voluntarily.
Read went on to describe the church's attendants as “very loving” and “nonjudgmental,” so it's no surprise they were so open to welcoming Kelley and his kids.