SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas — 26 people were killed on Sunday after a gunman walked into a Baptist church in Texas and began firing.
According to reports, a man now identified as Devin Kelley, 26, walked into First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs at approximately 11:20 a.m. and opened fire on the 50-member congregation. He was dressed in all black, and was wearing tactical gear.
26 people have now died from their injuries—23 inside the building and two outside, with one member dying at the hospital. 20 others have also been hospitalized. Among those killed was the 14-year-old daughter of pastor Frank Pomeroy, who was not present this morning. One woman was pregnant.
“My dad saw the gunman run into the church building and then he heard shots and saw people running,” local resident David Flores, 26, told CNN. “People covered in blood and screaming. It was pandemonium everywhere.”
A local resident engaged Kelley outside of the church with a rifle, causing the gunman to flee. He was later found deceased in his vehicle in nearby Guadalupe County.
The FBI and Texas Rangers are currently investigating the situation, and according to Fox 5 News, authorities are working on removing the bodies.
“There are no words to describe the pure evil that we witnessed in Sutherland Springs today,” Gov. Greg Abbott said during a press conference Sunday evening. “There are 26 lives that have been lost. We don’t know if that number will rise or not; all we know is that’s too many, and this will be a long, suffering mourning for those in pain.”
“We ask for God’s comfort, for God’s guidance and for God’s healing for all those who are suffering,” he continued. “As governor, 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, knowing that we support each other.”
The tragedy is stated to be the worst mass shooting in Texas history. A motive is not yet known.
As previously reported, on Sept. 24, a shooting also occurred at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee. Emanuel Samson, 25, killed a woman in the parking lot before entering the church and injuring seven others. Samson later told police that he had “heard voices” prior to the act.