SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas (AP) — Authorities say a gunman armed with an assault rifle opened fire inside a small South Texas church, killing 26 people who ranged in age from 5 to 72.
The mass shooting occurred Sunday morning at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio. About 20 others were wounded in the attack.
Two officials who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity identified the gunman as Devin Kelley. An Air Force spokeswoman said records confirm Kelley received a bad conduct discharge after being court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his spouse and child.
Wilson County Sheriff Joe D. Tackitt Jr. described the scene inside the church as “terrible.”
Investigators have not yet determined a motive for the attack.
A congregant who wasn’t at the church the day of a deadly shooting says his cousins attended and that family members have been told at least one was killed.
Thirty-four-year-old Nick Uhlig says he didn’t go to the Sutherland Springs church Sunday because he was out late Saturday. He says the cousin who was killed had three children and was pregnant with a fourth. He didn’t know specifics about how the other was doing.
Uhlig says the family had just met days earlier for his cousins’ grandfather’s funeral.
The wife of the pastor of the church says the couple’s 14-year-old daughter was among those killed.
Sherri Pomeroy, wife of Pastor Frank Pomeroy, said in a text message that she lost her daughter “and many friends”. The text came in response to an interview request sent by The Associated Press to a phone number linked in online records to Frank Pomeroy.
Sherri Pomeroy says both she and her husband were out of town and trying to get back to Sutherland Springs, outside of San Antonio.
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