Texas church shooting: suspect named, at least 26 dead

State troopers guard the entrance to the First Baptist church after a mass shooting that killed 26 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday. Photograph: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
State troopers guard the entrance to the First Baptist church after a mass shooting that killed 26 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday. Photograph: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Texas church shooting: suspect named as at least 26 confirmed dead – as it happened” was written by Bonnie Malkin and Michael McGowan, for theguardian.com on Monday 6th November 2017 07.25 UTC

Summary

  • At least 26 people are dead and 20 are injured after a gunman opened fire on a congregation at the First Baptist church in the small town of Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday.
  • 23 people died inside the church, two were found dead outside and one died on the way to hospital.
  • The age of the victims ranges from five to 72. Several are still in hospital with injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening.
  • The gunman has not been officially identified by police, but has been described as a white male aged in his 20s wearing tactical-style gear and a ballistic vest.
  • Several US media outlets reported the suspect’s name as Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, based on briefings from unnamed law enforcement sources.
  • An Air Force spokeswoman said Kelley served from 2010 to 2014 and left following a court martial. He received a bad conduct discharge for assaulting his wife and child.
  • Police said the suspect was first seen at a gas station in Sutherland Springs at about 11.20am on Sunday, before he started shooting at the church from the outside and then walked inside and continued shooting.
  • He was tackled by a local as he exited the church. He fled the scene in his car, pursued by two locals and police, and was found dead after a brief chase when his vehicle crashed.
  • It is not known if he died from a self-inflicted wound or a shot fired by the local who first intercepted him.
  • President Donald Trump, who is in Tokyo, has said the shooting was a “horrible crime” and an “act of evil.” He blamed the suspect’s “mental health problems” and said this was “not a guns situation”.
  • Trump said it was lucky that “someone was firing in the opposite direction” otherwise more people would have died.
  • Texas governor Greg Abbott said it was the worst mass shooting in modern Texas history.
  • Authorities have not named any victims, but First Baptist church pastor Frank Pomeroy said his 14-year-old daughter was among the dead.

We are going to pause our live coverage now.

Updated

Lois Beckett has written about Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general who has advocated arming parishioners so they can defend themselves against attacks on places of worship.

If more church-goers were armed, he said, “there’s always the opportunity that the gunman will be taken out before he has the opportunity to kill very many people.”

Read more about it here:

Trump says it was lucky that another person on the scene had a firearm, otherwise “it would have been much worse.”

Trump: gunman had a ‘mental health problem’

Responding to a question from the media about gun control in the wake of the shooting, Trump has said the gunman had a “mental health problem” and that this “isn’t a guns situation.”

“Preliminary reports show a very deranged individual who’s been having a problem for a very long time,” he said. “We have a lot of mental health problems in our country.”

“This isn’t a guns situation.”

Updated

Donald Trump is speaking for the second time in Tokyo since the shooting in Sutherland Springs.

At a summit with prime minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Trump reiterated his earlier comments, saying he was sending his “thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences” to the victims of the attack.

“Who would think a thing like this could happen?” he said.

“In tough times Americans always pull together, we are always at our strongest when we are unified.”

Donald Trump in Tokyo
Donald Trump in Tokyo
Photograph: Andrew Harnik/AP

Oliver Holmes has written a profile of Devin Kelley, the man suspected of carrying out the attack at the First Baptist church. He writes that investigators are looking at social media posts Kelley made in the days before the attack. Read more here:

‘No way’ to escape

A sheriff has said there was probably “no way” for parishioners to escape once shooting started at the Texas church.

Wilson County sheriff Joe Tackitt told the Associated Press that the shooter fired several shots outside before entering the Sutherland Springs church and walking toward the front of the congregation. Tackitt says the gunman then turned around and opened fire on his way back out the front door.

Tackitt says “I don’t think they could have escaped. You’ve got your pews on either side.”

His analysis chimes with that of a teenage resident of the town, who described how the layout of the church would have made escaping difficult.

Hunter Green, 16, described the church as having only small exits on the side and in the back. If a gunman came in the front door, Green said “they wouldn’t have had anywhere to go.”

What we know so far

  • At least 26 people are dead and 20 are injured after a gunman opened fire on a congregation at the First Baptist church in the small town of Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday.
  • 23 people died inside the church, two were found dead outside and one died on the way to hospital.
  • The age of the victims ranges from five to 72. Several are still in hospital with injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening.
  • The gunman has not been officially identified by police, but has been described as a white male aged in his 20s wearing tactical-style gear and a ballistic vest.
  • Several US media outlets reported the suspect’s name as Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, based on briefings from unnamed law enforcement sources.
  • An Air Force spokeswoman said Kelley served from 2010 to 2014 and left following a court martial. He received a bad conduct discharge for assaulting his wife and child.
  • Police said the suspect was first seen at a gas station in Sutherland Springs at about 11.20am on Sunday, before he started shooting at the church from the outside and then walked inside and continued shooting.
  • He was tackled by a local as he exited the church. He fled the scene in his car, pursued by two locals and police, and was found dead after a brief chase when his vehicle crashed.
  • It is not known if he died from a self-inflicted wound or a shot fired by the local who first intercepted him.
  • President Donald Trump, who is in Tokyo, has said the shooting was a “horrible crime” and an “act of evil.”
  • Texas governor Greg Abbott said it was the worst mass shooting in modern Texas history.
  • Authorities have not named any victims, but First Baptist church pastor Frank Pomeroy said his 14-year-old daughter was among the dead.

 

Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has expressed his “heartfelt solidarity” with the American people following the shooting in Texas.

Abe is currently hosting US president Donald Trump in Tokyo.

Sutherland Springs has just two gas stations, one post office and a few hundred residents. It is too small to have its own police force, and much of its social activity is centred on its two churches, the First Baptist and River Oaks.

Paul Buford, pastor of River Oaks Church, said it was difficult to believe what had happened.

“We are holding up as well as we can. We are a strong community. We are strong in our faith and strong in believing that anyone that was killed in the church there is present with our Lord,” he told the Associated Press.

In a small town like Sutherland Springs, everyone will be affected by the shooting, Buford said.

Michael Ward helped at the church by carrying out “the ones that were alive”. He struggled to speak and hold back tears as he recalled the scene.

“Everything happened quick,” he said. But Emily, a niece, did not make it, he said. On Sunday night he was waiting for news of a five-year-old nephew, who was shot and had surgery.

Terri Du Plantis said that a teenage girl she once taught as a substitute teacher was injured and her mother died in the attack. “Very sweet, very loving, very kind,” she said of the girl. “This just hits really close to home.”

The first image of what is believed to be the suspect’s truck has emerged:

A vehicle is hauled onto a flatbed truck where the suspect of a deadly church shooting was found dead near the intersection of FM 539 and Sandy Elm Road in Guadalupe County, near Sutherland Springs.
A vehicle is hauled onto a flatbed truck where the suspect of a deadly church shooting was found dead near the intersection of FM 539 and Sandy Elm Road in Guadalupe County, near Sutherland Springs.
Photograph: William Luther/AP

Here is more on Johnnie Langendorff, who gave chase as the suspect tried to flee:

The Associated Press is reporting from the address listed for Devin Patrick Kelley in New Braunfels:

Two sheriffs vans were parked outside and police officers stood at the gate of a cattle fence surrounding the property. Law enforcement officials gathered at the property declined to comment on why they were there. Several messages left for his relatives went unreturned.
Neighbors said that they heard intense gunfire coming from the direction of the address listed for Kelley in recent days.

“It’s really loud. At first I thought someone was blasting,” said Ryan Albers, 16, who lives across the road. “It had to be coming from somewhere pretty close. It was definitely not just a shotgun or someone hunting. It was someone using automatic weapon fire.”

A person matching Kelley’s name and date of birth also registered in 2014 to vote in Colorado, with an address listed in Colorado Springs, home of the US Air Force Academy. The Colorado secretary of state’s office lists his registration now as inactive.

Updated

Devin Patrick Kelley named as suspect

While we are still awaiting official confirmation of the suspect’s identity, multiple law enforcement sources have spoken to US media naming Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, as the suspected gunman.

Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokeswoman, also seemed to confirm his identity, saying Kelley served in the military from 2010 until 2014, when he left following a court martial. Kelley received a bad conduct discharge and 12 months in a military prison after an “assault on his spouse and child”.

Earlier, the Pentagon confirmed Kelley served in the Air Force.

Kelley reportedly lived in New Braunfels, Texas, which is about a 35 mile drive from Sutherland Springs.

Passerby describes chasing the gunman as he fled: ‘We led police to him’

A dramatic account of what happened outside the church has come from an interview with a passing motorist Johnnie Langendorff. He and a member of the Sutherland Springs community pursued the gunman as he fled in a car and alerted police to the chase.

Langendorff told a local TV station KSAT 12.com:

I pulled up to the intersection where the shooting happened. I saw two men exchanging gunfire, the other being the citizen of the community. The shooter of the church had taken off, fled in his vehicle, the other gentleman came and said we need to pursue him. And that’s what I did, I just acted.

I didn’t know him (the community member) at all, I didn’t recognise him. He was just a member of the community and he came to my vehicle in distress with his weapon. He explained very quickly what happened. He got into the truck and I knew that it was time to go.”

Langendorff said the gunman had sped off but the duo soon caught up with him.

He got a little bit of a jump on us. We were doing about 95(mph) down (route) 539 going around traffic and everything. Eventually he came to a kind of a slow down and after that we got within just a few feet of him and then he got off the road.

He just lost control. That is when I put the vehicle in park and I was still on the phone to dispatch. The other gentleman jumped out and has his rifle drawn on him. He didn’t move after that.

We led police to him. Everybody else was headed to the church, all the other officers were responding to the church. From the time we actually stopped it was about 5 to 7 minutes.

Langendorff said they waited for the police to arrive with the community member’s gun trained on the car of the suspect.

We did not get close enough. The police arrived and then they pushed us back and they took care of the rest I didn’t see anything after that.

I was trying to get him, to get him apprehended. It was strictly just acting on what the right thing to do was.”

Photographs from the vigil for victims of the shooting show the community united in sorrow.

Mourners participate in a candlelight vigil held for the victims of a fatal shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.
Mourners participate in a candlelight vigil held for the victims of a fatal shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.
Photograph: Darren Abate/AP
Local residents take part in the vigil.
Local residents take part in the vigil.
Photograph: Mohammad Khursheed/Reuters
Lexa Roberts and Cody Shaw of Spring, Texas embrace after the vigil.
Lexa Roberts and Cody Shaw of Spring, Texas embrace after the vigil.
Photograph: Mohammad Khursheed/Reuters

Updated

Law enforcement officials say the gunman carried an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. The same gun was used at the Las Vegas, Sandy Hook and Orlando nightclub shootings.

Texas attorney general: we should ‘arm parishioners’

The Texas attorney general has stirred up some online controversy about the shooting and what can be done to prevent similar attacks in the future.

Republican Ken Paxton suggested that congregations should be armed so they can take down shooters.

“In Texas at least we have the opportunity to concealed-carry. And if it is a place where somebody had the ability to carry there is always the opportunity that a gunman can be taken out before he has the opportunity to kill very many people.

“We have had shootings at churches forever, this is going to happen again. And so we need people in church to do … professional security or at least arming some of the parishioners or the congregation so that they can respond when something like this happens again.”

Updated

Here is the full text of Trump’s statement about the shooting:

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families of today’s murderous attack in Sutherland Springs, Texas. This horrible act of evil occurred as the victims and their families were in their place of sacred worship. We cannot put into words the pain and grief we all feel, and we cannot begin to imagine the suffering of those who lost the ones they loved. Our hearts are broken.

But in dark times such as these, Americans do what we do best: we pull together. We join hands. We lock arms. And through the tears and the sadness, we stand strong.

My Administration is providing its full support to the state and local authorities investigating this horrible crime. I have spoken with Governor Abbott, and we offer our thanks to the first responders who ultimately stopped the suspect and rendered immediate and lifesaving aid to the victims of this shooting. I will continue to follow developments closely.

All of America is praying to God to help the wounded and the families – we will never leave their side.”

Donald Trump: ‘We stand strong’ after shooting

 

The Associated Press has more on the gunman:

A US military official says the suspect identified in the mass shooting at a Texas church was a former Air Force member who was stationed in New Mexico at one time.

Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said records confirm the man served in Logistics Readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his discharge. The date of his discharge and the circumstances under which he left the service were not immediately available.

Local TV station KENS 5 has spoken to witness Kevin Jordan who lives less than 50 yards from the church.

He was outside changing his car’s oil when the gunman started the attack.

Jordan said his neighbor, who he described as a man who would do anything for anyone, came out with a gun then shot the suspect while taking cover behind a car.

“If it wasn’t for him, the guy wouldn’t have stopped,” Jordan said. He said the man also shot through the suspect’s window as he drove off.

Police are visiting a house that the suspected gunman listed as his home address.

Tom reports from Sutherland Springs:

A candlelit vigil was held on a patch of grass next to a post office opposite the church, while friends and relatives gathered to await news of the injured at a community center a couple of blocks from the church, which remains closed off as a variety of law enforcement agencies continue to examine the scene.

At the centre, a few dozen people stood outside while a local fire department grilled food on a giant BBQ. The town is quiet and dark, save for the blue and red flashing lights on the police vehicles blocking off the area.

Gunman previously served in Air Force

In a brief statement, the Pentagon said the gunman was an airman “at one point,” but additional details about his time in the Air Force were not immediately available.

A candlelit vigil is underway in Sutherland Springs.

Updated

What we know so far

  • At least 26 people are dead and 20 are injured after a gunman opened fire on a congregation at the First Baptist church in the small town of Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday.
  • 23 people died inside the church, two were found dead outside and one died on the way to hospital.
  • The age of the victims ranges from five to 72. Several are still in hospital with injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening.
  • The gunman was described by police as a white male aged in his 20s wearing tactical-style gear and a ballistic vest.
  • He was first seen at a gas station in Sutherland Springs at about 11.20am, before he started shooting at the church and then walked inside and continued shooting.
  • He was tackled by a local as he exited the church. He fled the scene in his car and was found dead after a brief chase near the county line after the vehicle crashed.
  • It is not known if he died from a self-inflicted wound or a shot fired by the local who intercepted him.
  • Multiple US news outlets have named the suspect, but officials have not confirmed his identity.
  • President Donald Trump, in Tokyo, has said the shooting is a “horrible crime” and an “act of evil.”
  • Texas governor Greg Abbott said it was the worst mass shooting in modern Texas history.
  • Authorities have not named any victims, but First Baptist church pastor Frank Pomeroy said his 14-year-old daughter is among the dead.

Updated

Barack Obama has called for “concrete steps to reduce violence and weaponry in our midst.”

As night falls in Texas, crowds are gathering across the street from the First Baptist Church.

Donald Trump: ‘All of America is praying’

The president went on:

My administration will provide its full support to the great state of Texas investigating this horrible crime. Ultimately, they stopped the suspect and rendered immediate life-saving aid to certain victims. I will continue to follow the developments closely. All of America is praying to god to help the wounded and the families of the victims we will never ever leave their side, ever.”

Donald Trump is talking about the shooting during his second day in Tokyo:

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families. In dark times Americans do what they do best, we pull together, we join hands, we lock arms and, through the tears and through the sadness, we stand strong, oh so strong.

Local reporters on the scene are talking to relatives of victims who are waiting for news of their loved ones:

First responders at the scene of shooting at the First Baptist Church.
First responders at the scene of shooting at the First Baptist Church.
Photograph: Joe Mitchell/Reuters
Law enforcement and forensic officials gather near the First Baptist Church following the shooting.
Law enforcement and forensic officials gather near the First Baptist Church following the shooting.
Photograph: Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

The gunman – young white male

We now know the gunman was a young white male in his 20s who was dressed all in black and was wearing tactical-type gear, including a ballistic vest.

Updated

No known motive

Police said during the press conference that they have no information on the gunman’s motive.

Gunman was tackled outside the church

So, what did we learn from the press conference? One of the most striking pieces of information was that the gunman was engaged and possibly fatally injured by a local person who intercepted him outside the church, grabbed his weapon and chased him from the scene. The gunman fled in his car, crashed at the county line and was found dead inside. It is not known if he died from a self-inflicted wound or a shot from the person who engaged him outside the church.

Updated

Tom Dart, our reporter, is in Sutherland Springs:

As the sun began to set, reporters and locals gathered on the edge of a police cordon about 50 metres from the church, whose sign is still advertising a “fall festival” from 31 October. Struggling for words, David Johnson, whose daughter used to live in a small home next to a petrol station opposite the church, said he was stunned that such violence would be wreaked upon a small, quiet community – but that the scale of the violence would be horrific in any context. “This is a shock anywhere that it would happen,” he said.

Officials have said victims range in age from five to 72.

Updated

Sherriff Tackitt said the first police knew about the incident was when a call came in reporting an active shooter. He said there were no calls beforehand about a suspicious person. The press conference has now ended.

Governor Greg Abbott said an emergency medical taskforce had been deployed from San Antonio to respond to “the magnitude of the tragedy” and the Red Cross has set up a family assistance centre.

Abbott said president Donald Trump had called from overseas and that he had spoken to Texas senator Ted Cruz.

Sherriff Joe Tackitt from Wilson County made a very short statement: “We don’t know names of any victims at this time. As we get the names we will be contacting family members.”

Multiple weapons found in vehicle

Freeman Martin, from the Texas Department of Public Safety:

  • At 11.20 this morning a suspect was seen at a gas station dressed in all black, he crossed the street outside the church and began firing at the church.
  • That suspect entered the church and continued to fire, as he exited a local resident grabbed his rifle and engaged the suspect. The suspect dropped his rifle and fled, the local citizen pursued the suspect.
  • A short time later the suspect at the county line ran off the roadway and crashed ad was found deceased in his vehicle. We don’t know if it was self inflicted.
  • He is a young white male, maybe in early 20s, dressed in all black tactical-type gear and was wearing a ballistic vest.
  • There were multiple weapons in the vehicle.
  • 23 people were killed inside the church. Two were found outside and one died after being taken to a hospital.

Updated

At least 26 dead

The Texas governor Greg Abbott has said at least 26 people are dead:

As a state we are dealing with the largest mass shooting in our state’s history. So many families have lost family members.

The tragedy is worsened by the fact it occurred in a church, a place of worship where these people were innocently gunned down.”

Updated

We are expecting a press conference from police shortly.

The Associated Press and New York Times have named the suspected gunman, quoting unnamed officials. We are still waiting for official confirmation from the police.

A US official who spoke to the AP said the man lived in a suburb of San Antonio and that he doesn’t appear to be linked to organised terrorist groups.

The official said investigators are looking at his social media posts, including one that appeared to show an AR-15 semiautomatic weapon.

Hello, it’s Bonnie Malkin here taking over the blog from Michael.

Democratic senator Diane Feinstein has released a statement on the shooting, asking “When will this end?”:

I’m horrified by the news of the shooting today in South Texas. More than 20 people killed and more than 20 injured, it’s absolutely devastating, and my thoughts are with all of those in Sutherland Springs.

When will this end? When will we decide that we can’t accept massacres in our places of worship, schools, or at concerts? When will we actually do something about it?

This latest mass shooting comes just one month after the country’s deadliest mass shooting, and we’re still trying to garner support for even the most basic steps to reduce gun violence.

After each mass shooting, I hope we’ll summon the courage and will to change, and today is no different.”

 

The White House has just put out another update on the shooting. Press secretary Sarah Sanders sent this out to the press pool.

Update on Shooting in Texas

The President has been briefed several times and is continuing to receive regular updates on the tragic shooting in TX.

The President spoke with Gov. Abbott earlier this morning. We will keep you posted as we can share more details.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the friends and families affected. May God comfort them all in this time of tragedy.

Here are some of the latest pictures from the scene.

Carrie Matula embraces a woman after the shooting. Matula said she heard the shooting from the gas station where she works a block away.
Carrie Matula embraces a woman after the shooting. Matula said she heard the shooting from the gas station where she works a block away.
Photograph: Nick Wagner/AP
Law enforcement officers form a barricade.
Law enforcement officers form a barricade.
Photograph: Darren Abate/AP
A group gathers to pray outside the Community Center in Sutherland Springs.
A group gathers to pray outside the Community Center in Sutherland Springs.
Photograph: via ZUMA/REX/Shutterstock

As we wait for more news about the shooting from officials, CNN is reporting that about 100 family members of victims have gathered inside the Sutherland Springs Community Building next to the church.

Local law enforcement, the FBI and the Red Cross are also at the community centre.

David Flores, a 26-year-old Sutherland Springs resident told the station that his father had witnessed the event unfolding.

“My dad saw the gunman run into the church building and then he heard shots and saw people running,” Flores told CNN.

“People covered in blood and screaming. It was pandemonium everywhere.”

“Looking around, it’s very sorrowful and the pastors from all the local churches right now are just trying to console everybody,” said Flores when asked to describe the scene inside the community centre.

“There were several children injured,” he said. “I know three, personally, who are in critical condition.”

News of some of the victims of the shooting are starting to come in. AP reports that the 14-year-old daughter of Frank Pomeroy, the pastor at the church where the mass shooting took place, is among the dead.

Sherri Pomeroy, the pastor’s wife, confirmed the news to the Associated Press in a text message, writing that she lost her daughter Annabelle Renee Pomeroy, “and many friends” in the Sunday shooting.

Pomeroy said that both she and her husband were out of town and trying to get back to Sutherland Springs.

Frank Pomeroy meanwhile spoke to ABC News by phone, saying his daughter, “was one very beautiful, special child”.

The flags are already at half mast outside the First Baptist church in Sutherland Springs.

Law enforcement officials at the First Baptist Church.
Law enforcement officials at the First Baptist Church.
Photograph: Networ/Sipa USA/REX/Shutterstock

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has released a statement on the shooting. He’s asked Texans to pray for the Sutherland Springs community.

“While the details of this horrific act are still under investigation, Cecilia and I want to send our sincerest thoughts and prayers to all those who have been affected by this evil act. I want to thank law enforcement for their response and ask that all Texans pray for the Sutherland Springs community during this time of mourning and loss.”

Here’s the latest from the Associated Press which has its own sources on the numbers affect in the shooting.

The exact number of victims in the attack at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs wasn’t immediately known. But a law enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press that more than 20 people were killed and between 10 and 15 others were wounded, though the official stressed that the investigation was in its early stages and the figures could change.

The official said the gunman fled in a vehicle after the attack and was killed, either by a self-inflicted wound or during a confrontation with police. The official was not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation and spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity.

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.

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

Here is a map of the location of Sutherland Springs – as you can see it is a small, regional community.

Sutherland Springs

Carrie Matula, a resident in Sutherland Springs, described to CNN the moment she realised that the church was being attacked.

“I was just starting the shift at the store I work at, one of the other cashiers was sweeping up outside and she heard the gunshots first, came running in and said somebody is shooting out there, and it sounds like quite a lot.

“And they were still shooting by the time I got to the door and outside and we heard ricocheting and we went back inside.

“We did not want to get hurt. It was very close and very loud and at first we thought somebody was target shooting .. but this was semi automatic shire, this was rapid fire.

“About five or 6 minutes later we start seeing first responders coming in and ambulance sand fire department things of that nature.”

Matula said the town was in shock, and that people “had an idea” of who was behind the shooting.

“This is a a very small town,” she said.

“Everybody knows everybody. This is going to charge the whole dynamic. It is dumbfounding. We are all kind of in shock.

“We do know some of the people who have passed on, who were killed and we are watching in shock … family members being told that they lost their loved ones.

“It is indescribable really the shock and everyone that is going on right now, it is terrible.

“We have an idea of who did it but we don’t know why. It is a small town so it is going around the rumour mill pretty quick.”

More than 20 people are reported to have been killed by a gunman in a church in a rural part of Texas on Sunday.

Officials in the small community of Sutherland Springs, about 50 kilometres south-east of San Antonio, told media outlets more than 20 were killed and as man as two-dozen more were injured when the shooter walked into the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs and began firing.

What we know:

  • Paul W. Pfeil, a Wilson County commissioner told media that officials did not yet have a clear figure on fatalities, but that “more than 20” people had been killed
  • The gunman is dead, according to Albert Gamez Jr, a Wilson County commissioner, who told CNN that he was told by the police that the gunman was chased into the next county and was killed. It was not clear whether the police shot him or he killed himself
  • Texas governor Greg Abbott said he was travelling to Sutherland Springs, Tweeting that “our prayers are with all who were harmed by this evil act”
  • Witnesses have described hearing “semi-automatic, rapid” fire

The US President Donald Trump Tweeted about the incident:

Updated

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Myrddin Gwynedd

Myrddin Gwynedd

Journalism Tutor at NZ Radio Training School
Myrddin Gwynedd is an award-winning writer who hails from Wales. He lives in Auckland, New Zealand, with his partner and an army of felines.
Myrddin Gwynedd

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