SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas (AP) — A man opened fire inside of a church in a small South Texas community on Sunday, killing 26 people and wounding about 20 others in the deadliest mass shooting in the state’s history, the governor said.

Officials didn’t identify the attacker during a news conference Sunday night, but two other officials — one a U.S. official and one in law enforcement — who were briefed on the investigation identified him as Devin Kelley. They spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the investigation.

The U.S. official said Kelley lived in a San Antonio suburb and doesn’t appear to be linked to organized terrorist groups. The official said investigators are looking at social media posts Kelley may have made in the days before Sunday’s attack, including one that appeared to show an AR-15 semiautomatic weapon.

Authorities said a civilian with a gun confronted the attacker and chased him away. The gunman was later found dead in his vehicle along with several weapons.

A Department of Public Safety official said at the news conference that investigators weren’t ready to discuss a possible motive for the attack. He said the dead ranged in age from 5 to 72 years old. Twenty-three were found dead in the church, two were found outside and one died after being taken to a hospital.

Federal law enforcement swarmed the small community 30 miles southeast of San Antonio after the attack to offer assistance, including ATF investigators and members of the FBI’s evidence collection team.

Among those killed was the 14-year-old daughter of the church’s pastor, Frank Pomeroy, and his wife, Sherri. Sherri Pomeroy wrote in a text message to the AP that she and her husband were out of town in two different states when the attack occurred.

“We lost our 14 year old daughter today and many friends,” she wrote. “Neither of us have made it back into town yet to personally see the devastation. I am at the charlotte airport trying to get home as soon as i can.”

The wounded were taken to hospitals. Video on KSAT television showed first responders taking a stretcher from the church to a waiting AirLife helicopter. Eight victims were taken by medical helicopter to the Brooke Army Medical Center, the military hospital said.

Megan Posey, a spokeswoman for Connally Memorial Medical Center, which is in Floresville and about 10 miles from the church, said “multiple” victims were being treated for gunshot wounds. She declined to give a specific number but said it was less than a dozen.

Alena Berlanga, a Floresville resident who was monitoring the chaos on a police scanner and in Facebook community groups, said everyone knows everyone else in the sparsely populated county. Sutherland Springs has only a few hundred residents.

“This is horrific for our tiny little tight-knit town,” said Alena Berlanga. “Everybody’s going to be affected and everybody knows someone who’s affected,” she said.

Regina Rodriguez arrived at the church a couple of hours after the shooting and walked up to the police barricade. She hugged a person she was with. She had been at an amusement park with her children when she heard of the shooting.

She said her father, 51-year-old Richard Rodriguez, attends the church every Sunday, and she hadn’t been able to reach him. She said she feared the worst.

Nick Uhlig, 34, is a church member who didn’t go Sunday morning because he was out late Saturday night. He said his cousins were at the church and that his family was told at least one of them, a woman with three children and pregnant with another, is among the dead. He said he hadn’t heard specific news about the other.

“We just gathered to bury their grandfather on Thursday,” he said. “This is the only church here. We have Bible study, men’s Bible study, vacation Bible school.”

“Somebody went in and started shooting,” he said, shaking his head and taking a long drag of his cigarette.

President Donald Trump tweeted from Japan, where is his on an Asian trip, that he was monitoring the situation. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the shooting an “evil act,” and promised “more details” from the state’s Department of Public Safety soon.

Sutherland Springs is in a rural area where communities are small and tight-knit. The area is known for its annual peanut festival in Floresville, which was most recently held last month.

“We’re shocked. Shocked and dismayed,” said state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, a Laredo Democrat whose district includes Sutherland Springs. “It’s especially shocking when it’s such a small, serene area. These rural areas, they are so beautiful and so loving.”

Zaffirini said she had called several county and local officials but not been able to get through and didn’t have any firm details.

The church is a white, wood-framed building with a double-door at the entrance and a Texas flag on a pole at the front area. A morning worship service was scheduled for 11 a.m. The first news reports of the shooting were between noon and 12:30 p.m.

The church has posted videos of its Sunday services on a YouTube channel, raising the possibility that the shooting was captured on video.

In the most recent service, posted Oct. 29, Frank Pomeroy parked a motorcycle in front of his lectern and used it as a metaphor in his sermon for having faith in forces that can’t be seen, whether it be gravity or God.

“I don’t look at the moment, I look at where I’m going and look at what’s out there ahead of me,” Pomeroy said. “I’m choosing to trust in the centripetal forces and the things of God he’s put around me.”

___

Associated Press writers Sadie Gurman and Eric Tucker in Washington, Nomaan Merchant in Houston, Diana Heidgerd in Dallas and Michael Balsamo in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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36 thoughts on “26 Dead In Texas Church Shooting, Gunman Killed

  1. specialt757 on said:

    I don’t think our prayers are being heard, especially, since our government does nothing to combat the gun violence in this country, not sure if God is really hearing us (faith w/o works is dead). Every mass murdering ‘EVENT’ we have in this country a bunch of us always come out here, week after week with the same “prayers to the families” and that’s very nice, but it does nothing to stop the next murdering scum bag who wants to make the news. And obviously, death is not a deterrent.

    • Offering condolences to the families of the victims is not meant as a deterrent to violence. It’s meant to convey human kindness and empathy to ones who may need a kind word during an imaginable difficult time. That’s all.

    • God gives Mankind “FREE WILL”. We can choose to do right or do wrong but whatever we choose, we have to deal with it. This is NOT of God or God’s doing but when we are a county that allows selling these kind of gun (and lets be real, some groups get special treatment. I bet a black person could not go into a store or shop and get this kind of gun without a real background check), we are killing ourselves. Look at this part of the country (Texas), they breed on NRA and now look. What you agree with came back on the state/county/city. You can have rifle but anything with an R in from of it does NOT need to be in the hands of no one but military.

  2. specialt757 on said:

    Assault rifles should be ban as they were in 1994, but with a lot more restrictions and no expiration date. I wonder which prez didn’t fight to pass another law with stricter controls, ah that would be baby boy Bush. He allowed those can of worms to be re-opened and never did anything to stop it. The NRA made sure of it, and look, one mass shooting right after another, with what? assault rifles or modified assault rifles with multi-round clips, etc… The reason for the ban was to limit incidents like this, but white folks couldn’t have that, they’d rather have their kids and families killed before they will give up their ak-47s and the likes. White devils. Talk about not opening your eyes to see what’s right in front of you, it’s so simple.

  3. specialt757 on said:

    It’s a shame it always come down to black vs white because people come out here daily and try to force us to wear black on black crimes like it’s a badge of honor. But when white folks kill 58 & 26 or more people they don’t have to acknowledge or own it, they blame it on mental illness. NOTICE no photo of this murdering bastard anywhere, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing because it sensationalizes these murders and then another nut wants to out-do the last nut.
    But in the meantime, you better believe it wasn’t a non-white who committed this heinous act of terror. I keep hearing lines from the song from the color purple in my head, “maybe God is trying to tell me (us) something”. Obviously, America is not listening.

  4. It’s a shame whenever these tragedy’s happen one of the things that come to mind is, are the victims black? Is the suspect blk? That’s a terrible mindset to have.

  5. Guest1 on said:

    Guest1 on November 2, 2017 at 11:59 am said:
    Just the typical disgruntled white man shooting up shit again. Nothing new here. We’ll be having this conversation again in a few weeks about another one who’s upset about Thanksgiving dinner..

    • specialt757 on said:

      Guest1 you practically called it to the day, but it may even be another one before Thanksgiving at the rate we’re going. No one even knows why this asswipe killed these people, looks like he did it just because he could. He wanted to make the news. white devils.

      • Now it’s being reported that the suspect went to the church that his ex wife and her family attended. l guess it really dose not matter why he did it. But the republithugs will send out their fake condolences and go back to cutting taxes for the wealthy and the corporations.

      • Guest1 on said:

        Special, I don’t want to believe this is the new normal, yet, I can’t say I’m surprised anymore when I hear about these shootings. 2 1/2 weeks to go for Thanksgiving. 45 was quick to come out with mental illness even before the coroner had time to remove the sheet. Again, nothing to see here. Another angry white man mad at the world, mad that his life took a turn for the worse, and mad that he couldn’t maintain a decent relationship. Misplaced anger inflicted upon innocent men, women and children. Then as most cowards do, they run and see no way out, then they kill themselves.

  6. Prayers out to the victims. Does anybody believe the fake prez is godly? For him to use God’s name is shameful. This fake prez is full of hate, especially towards ppl of color. He said the issue with this shooting suspect was mental health. I guess he would knw about mental health issues, he’s mentally I’ll.

    • Passing Through! on said:

      White shooters are mentally ill Muslims or any other ethnicity or race are terrorist. 45 wasted no time going in on the New York killer Saipov last week calling for tougher immigration laws but not a damn word on gun laws in the wake of 2 back to back mass shootings.

    • specialt757 on said:

      Hell-the-naw (said in my Whitney voice), fake prez aint got a godly bone in his orange body. YUK! I just got a mental picture of seeing his ugly fat blubbery body in my head, it’s going take therapy to get that image out.
      He talked about the ban on muslim, but nothing about a ban on assault rifles. Also notice the crickets’ sounds coming from his knuckle dragging, cave dwelling and trailer park trash supporters.

      • @Specialt- you hear nothing from our resident trolls because the suspect and victims were white. Shameful!!!

      • specialt757 on said:

        You’re right. Waiting on the next article about a black on black crime, they will show up like stink on sh*t.

  7. it doesnt matter people are dying in a mass shooting a week and will continue to die more is coming republicans will never discuss gun control because the NRA gives them good dick

  8. Passing Through! on said:

    45 Says
    *********

    May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan
    ******************
    So I can figure out how to blame Hillary & the Democrats without addressing gun control while trying to divert attention away from Russia.
    Donald J. Trump

  9. Passing Through! on said:

    Speaking of white on white crime, Rand Paul was assulted apparently he got his ribs warmed up by his neighbor Rene Albert Boucher.

  10. Passing Through! on said:

    @ MMYNUE
    ************
    And it’s now becoming a standerd in your community & if you factor in the Opioid crises 52,000 deaths in 2015 & over 60,000 in 2016 90% WHITE dying at the hands of other white drug dealers/addicts white on white crime is just as bad, white people don’t get labeled in the news until it’s a mass shooting that makes the national headlines.

  11. Don’t forget the open carry laws these states have passed. The More guns the merrier for these gun touting fools. They just passed more open carry laws in my state. U can carry guns every damn place. U can carry them in Daycare’s, parks, bars,churches. This shit is insane

    • specialt757 on said:

      D
      It’s funny you said that. Last week or so when the white devil went into Walmart and killed and injured those people, there were other gun toting citizens who were strapped at the time, who did nothing to stop him. They were too busy hiding, aint that blip? These scared b—es talk all this shit about “I wish a mother-f**ka would” and soon as they are confronted, they run and hide. Everybody’s got a plan until a gun in pointed at your head. Man miss me wit’ it, say what you want, that’s a scary situation that not many people are prepared for. Jhuf was there with his ak-47 and did nothing.

  12. specialt757 on said:

    Yep all these NRA card carrying gun lovers. Even the mentally insane can get as many as he/she wants, well of course if they have the complexion for the protection.
    A white man walks into a Walmart with a gun, no one gives him a second look, black man is carry a gun sold at Walmart, folks freak, cops kill him on sight, no questions ask.
    Not to worry folks, another mass shooting in few days, trump owns this.

      • specialt757 on said:

        See that’s where your reading and comprehensive skills come in, I have idea whether they ALL were NRA members, but most likely they were, nor did I imply that. I was talking about ALL the NRA card carrying members in the U.S. who fight against any legislation to gun control, not necessarily these murdering bastards, but again, chances are, they were.

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