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USA: Live Updates: At Least 26 People Killed After Man Opens Fire In Texas Church

Posted by On November 06, 2017

Live Updates: At Least 26 People Killed After Man Opens Fire In Texas Church

Darren Abate / AP

What We Know So Far

  • At least 26 people are dead after a gunman opened fire during a Sunday service at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said via Twitter: "Our prayers are with all who were harmed by this evil act."
  • President Trump wrote on Twitter while visiting Japan: "May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas."
  • Multiple media outlets identified the gunman as 26-year-old Devin P. Kelley, who was found dead inside his vehicle after it veered off the road while being pursued by authorities.
  • For an updated list of the victims, go here.


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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the shooting that occurred at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs was the deadliest in the state's history.

Speaking to reporters Sunday after a gunman opened fire at the church, killing at least 26 people, Abbott said the entire state mourned the loss of life.

"The tragedy of course is worsened by the fact it occurred in a church, a place of worship, where these people were innocently gunned down," he said. "We mourn their loss."

The gunman, identified in multiple media outlets as 26-year-old Devin P. Kelley, was found dead in his vehicle after a short pursuit. It was not immediately clear how he died or what his motive was.

â€"Jason Wells

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Trump calls Texas church shooter "deranged"

Andrew Harnik / AP

President Trump called the Texas church shooter "deranged" and described him as someone who had a "mental health problem at the highest level."

Trump made the comments while in Japan as part of his Asia tour, the Associated Press reported.

The church shooter, identified by multiple outlets as 26-year-old Devin P. Kelley, was found dead inside his vehicle after it veered off the road while being pursued by authorities on S unday.

The pursuit started after he opened fire at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing at least 26 people.

Authorities were still investigating the motive for the attack overnight Sunday.

â€"Jason Wells

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Neighbors recall hearing gunfire from the direction of church shooter's listed address in recent days

People who live near an address listed for the Texas church shooter told the Associated Press they heard intense gunfire from the direction of that area in recent days.

“It’s really loud," said 16-year-old Ryan Albers, who lives across the road from the listed home of purported church shooter Devin Kelley. "At first I thought someone was blasting . It was someone using automatic weapon fire.”

Another nearby neighbor, who did not want to be identified, told the AP he had also heard gunfire coming from across the street, but wasn't sure if it came from the property.

Kelley was found dead in his vehicle after a short pursuit by authorities. It was not immediately clear how he was killed.

â€"Jason Wells

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Texas residents describe shock and horror of church massacre

Darren Abate / AP

Mourners participate in a candlelight vigil held for the victims of a fatal shooting at the First Baptist Chur ch of Sutherland Springs.

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas â€" Michael Ward didn’t hear the shots at the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church on Sunday, but his wife, Leslie, did. She heard at least 20 and yelled at him to wake up.

Michael ran to wake up his brother, Chris, who was also sleeping after a long night at work, and told him, "They shot up the church, everyone’s been shot." He flagged down his father on the road and they ran to the church, where a handful of police officers were already on the scene, and ran inside.

“I was just looking for my nephew, looking for my nieces, searching all over," Ward said. “There was a woman who’d been shot three times in the leg, and she was doing all she could to help.”

They started pulling bodies out. All four of the children who had gone to church with their mother, Joann, that morning â€" Rihanna Garza, 9; Emily Garza, 7; Ryland Ward, 5; and Br ooke Ward, 5 â€" were found.

Ryland, Ward said, was shot four times, but as of Sunday night, was alive, as was Rihanna. Emily and Brooke, however, did not make it, nor did Joann.

At least 26 people in all were shot dead inside the church. The gunman was later found dead in his vehicle after a short pursuit.

It wasn’t until later that the Wards learned that Chris had been mistakenly identified as the shooter â€" which then quickly spread through social media.

Michael Ward recalled the mayhem outside a local gas station, where he’d just bought a 12-pack of Big Red Soda. His daughter, McKinley, tried to drink a Slurpee through a broken straw.

Read more here.

â€"Anne Helen Petersen and Charlie Warzel

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Gunman was court-martialed from Air Force for assault

The purported gunman who killed at least 26 people in a church in Texas on Sunday was court-martialed from the Air Force for assaulting his wife and child.

Authorities did not publicly release the gunman's identity Sunday, but officials confirmed to multiple outlets that he was 26-year-old Devin P. Kelley. He was found dead in his vehicle after being pursued from the church.

Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told BuzzFeed News that according to records, Kelley served in Logistics Readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his discharge in 2014.

After he was court-martialed in 2012 for assault on his spouse and assault on their child, Stefanek said Kelley received a Bad Conduct Discharge and confinement for 12 months.

Read more here.

â€"Michelle Border Van Dyke

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Man says he pursued gunman in his pickup truck after shooting

View this video on YouTube

Johnnie Langendorff, who lives in nearby Seguin, Texas, told local media that he was driving past the church immediately after the shooting and saw "two men exchanging gunfire." After the suspect fled in his vehicle, the other man, who Langendorff described as a member of the community, ran up to his truck and said they needed to go after the gunman.

"He said he just shot up the church so that's what I did," Langendorff told KSATV. "I just acted."

The two men pursued the suspect down the highway, dodging traffic at about 95 miles per hour, Langendorff recounted, until the suspect "lost control and got off the road." Langendorff parked his car nearby and the other man, clutching his rifle, hopped out and kept his weapon trained on the suspect's car.

Langendorff had been on the phone with police during the chase and helped direct authorities to the scene. Langendorf said he didn't see any movement coming from the vehicleâ€"officials are trying to determine whether the suspect, identified by multiple outlets as 26-year-old Devin P. Kelley, killed himself in his car.

Police arrived about five minutes after the suspect pulled off, Langendorf said, and "took care of the rest."

"I was strictly acting on what the right thing to do was," he said.

Langendorff's girlfriend, Summer Caddell, shared the story on Facebook, pointing out his pickup truck in a flock of police veh icles in a shot broadcast on KSAT.

â€"Brianna Sacks

View this post on Facebook
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Dozens of people gathered in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Sunday night to pay tribute to those who were killed earlier in the day at church shooting.

At least 26 people were killed after a gunman opened fire outside and in the church. The gunman was found dead inside his vehicle after being chased by authorities.

â€"Charlie Warzel

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Witnesses say children were the first people the gunman encountered when he entered the church

Kevin Jordan, who lives across from the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, told KENS5 that the suspect fired at his house before taking off in his car.

"I was literally maybe 50 yards from the guy. He was in a face mask and shooting," Jordan said. "He saw me and took a pop shot at my house. It went through my window and my son was literally 2 feet from where the guy shot our house."

Jordan, a medical assistant, said he then ran to the small church and said the scene inside was indescribable.

"They try and train you for everything, but I can't describe what I saw,&q uot; he told the station. "I was trying to dress people's wounds. I saw my best friend's mother and I was trying to help her out. It was bad. I tried to help as many as I could. You can't explain it. Your mind doesn't want to grasp it."

Another witness told BuzzFeed News that those inside the church said the gunman started shooting through the windows before coming inside. The children in the congregation were seated in the back pews and were the first people the shooter encountered, they added.

Michael Ward told BuzzFeed News that his four nephews and nieces were some of the children shot sitting in the back row. His sister-in-law was also wounded.

Ward ran and woke up his brother, Chris, whose children were inside, and "they went over to the church and began pulling them out." The children had just come back from Sunday school and were sitting in the back row.

Ward's 5-year-old nephew, Ryland, was shot four tim es. A bullet hit the glasses of his 9-year-old niece, Rihanna, breaking the frames and narrowly missing her. Their mother, Joanne Ward, was also shot and was taken to the hospital.

Chris Ward's aunt, Edith Sommer, told BuzzFeed News that her niece died after being transported to a local hospital.

â€"Charlie Warzel, Anne Helen Petersen, Brianna Sacks

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Andrew Harnik / AP

President Trump said his thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the Texas church shooting.

Trump, who recently started a tour of Asia, said the "pain and grief we all feel cannot begin to imagine the suffering of those&q uot; who lost loved ones.

"Americans will do what we do best: We pull together and join hands and lock arms and through the tears and sadness we stand strong," he told reporters traveling with him in Japan.

Trump also pledged support for those affected by the tragedy.

"All Americans pray to god to help the wounded and the families of the victims," he said. "We will never ever leave their side."

In a statement issued by the White House later in the evening, Trump said "out hearts are broken."

"This horrible act of evil occurred as the victims and their families were in their place of sacred worship," he said. "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."

He later ordered flags flown at half-staff in honor of the victims.

â€"Jason Wells

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Gunman shot dead after opening fire in Texas church

Darren Abate / AP

At least 26 are dead after a gunman opened fire during a Sunday service at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, making it the deadliest shooting in the state's history.

At 11:20 a.m., a man dressed in all black and tactical gear started firing at the small church, officials said at a press conference. He then crossed to the right side of the building, still firing, before going inside and killing 23 people and injuring dozens more. When he left the building, "a local resident grabbed his rifle and engaged t hat suspect," said Freeman Martin, regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The gunman then dropped his weapon, an assault rifle, and ran to his car, Martin said. Authorities pursued the suspect, whom they found dead inside his vehicle after it veered off the road.

Twenty-three people died inside the church, two people were killed outside, and one person died from their injuries after being transported from the scene, Martin said. The victims' ages range from 5 to 72 years old.

"There's a lot of work to be done," Martin said. "We are only hours into this investigation which is going to take significant amounts of time."

Officials did not immediately release the suspect's name, saying only that he was a young white male, maybe in his early twenties.

"There are many, many we cannot answer," Martin said, explaining that authorities were still processing "many crime scenes."

< p>"We have the church, we have outside the church. We have where the suspect vehicle was located. We have following up on the suspect and where he's from, his residence," the director said.

Officials cautioned that the death toll could rise.

"We ask for God's comfort, for God's guidance, and for God's healing, for all those who are suffering," Gov. Greg Abbott said at the press conference. "I ask for every mom and dad at home tonight that you put your arm around your kid and give your kid a big hug and let them know how much you love them."

Frank Pomeroy, the pastor of the church, believes his 14-year-old daughter is one of the victims. He told ABC News that "she was one very beautiful, special child." Pomeroy and his wife, Sherri, were not at the church when the shooting occurred, according to CNN and NBC News.

The CEO of Connally Memorial Medical Center, a nearby hospital, told BuzzFeed News the ho spital had received eight shooting victims on Sunday, four of whom were transferred out to University Hospital in San Antonio. The four who remained at Connally Memorial were in stable condition â€" three of them have been discharged, he said. A staff member at the University Hospital in San Antonio said he could not provide any information.

A spokesperson for the FBI's San Antonio field office, Michelle Lee, confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the agency is assisting local law enforcement in Sutherland Springs.

"We are responding to provide assistance and there have been reports of multiple injuries and fatalities. We don't have those numbers yet," said Lee.

Read more here.

Source: Google News

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