26 killed in shooting at Texas church
by Mickey McLean
Posted 11/05/17, 09:57 pm
A man dressed in black tactical gear and a ballistic vest and armed with an assault rifle shot and killed 26 people and wounded at least 16 others during the Sunday morning worship service at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott called the attack in the small town 30 miles southeast of San Antonio the worst mass shooting in Texas history. “There are no words to describe the pure evil that we witnessed in Sutherland Springs today,” he said at a news conference. “Our hearts are heavy at the anguish in this small town, but in time of tragedy, we see the very best of Texas. May God comfort those who’ve lost a loved one, and may God heal the hurt in our communities.” Authorities did not identify the shooter but described him as a white man in his 20s who parked at a gas station across from the church around 11:20 a.m. The gunman crossed the street firing a Ruger AR rifle, according to Freeman Martin, a regional director of the Texas Department of Safety, and continued firing after entering the white wood-frame church. As he left the church, a man who lived nearby who heard the gunfire confronted the shooter and chased him. A short time later, the suspect was found dead in his vehicle at the county line, Martin said. It was unclear if the attacker died of a self-inflicted wound or if the man who chased him had shot him. Investigators weren’t ready to discuss a possible motive for the attack. Martin said 23 of the dead were found in the church, two were found outside, and one died after being rushed to a hospital. The dead ranged in age from an unborn child to 77 years old. Among those killed was Annabelle Pomeroy, the 14-year-old daughter of the church’s pastor. Pastor Frank Pomeroy, and his wife, Sherri, were both out of town in two different states when the attack occurred. President Donald Trump, who was in Japan, called the shooting an “act of evil” and said he was monitoring the situation.
Editor’s note: This article was edited to include a 27th death in the shooting, an unborn child, and correct the age range of the victims.
UPDATE: On Tuesday, Nov. 7, officials from the Texas Department of Public Safety said their count of 26 deaths from the shooting included the unborn child of Crystal Holcombe, who was pregnant when she and three of her other children were killed.
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Mickey is executive editor of WORLD Digital.