November 5, 2017
According to news reports, at approximately 11:30 am today, a yet unidentified gunman entered the tiny First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, about 30 miles east of San Antonio, and opened fire.
UPDATE: According to CBS news, the shooter has been identified as Devin Patrick Kelley.
“Kelley is a former U.S. Air Force member who served from 2010 to 2014. He received a dishonorable discharge and was court martialed in May 2014” – CBSnews.com
Paul W. Pfeil, a Wilson County, Texas commissioner, says that more than 20 victims, including children, have been killed. Two dozen more are injured, being treated at the nearby Connally Memorial Medical Center in Floresville, Texas. (Editor’s note – the death count (at 8:30PM Central) now stands at 27.)
UPDATE: And latest developments Monday morning indicate that the shooter’s own in-laws attend the church. It is not clear if they are members, but they were not in attendance at the time of the mass shooting. This information was reported by Sheriff Joe Tackitt of Wilson County.
Eight of the church members murdered were a family.
UPDATE: According to ABC News, the pastor’s 14 year-old daughter, Annabelle Renee Pomeroy, was one of those killed in the shooting. Pastor Pomeroy was in Oklahoma this morning, during the massacre.
After a brief chase into an adjoining county, the perpetrator was shot and killed, confirmed by Guadalupe County Sheriff Spokesman Robert Murphy. It is unclear at this time whether his death is at the hands of police or his own. No other details about the shooter’s identity or motive are known at this time.
The FBI is investigating this incident. From Japan, President Trump has tweeted his concern and condolences. Texas Governor Greg Abbott expressed his thoughts on Twitter, as well: “Our prayers are with all who were harmed by this evil act. Our thanks to law enforcement for their response.”
A nearby resident, Joseph Silva, described the community as “grief-stricken”. A prayer vigil is planned for this evening at First Baptist Church of La Vernia, Texas, a few miles away.
Late Update (8:30PM Central):
A local resident, Summer Caddel has told reporters that her boyfriend, Johnnie Langendorff, phoned shortly after the shooting at the First Baptist Church and informed her that he witnessed a gunfight between the shooter and a neighbor of the church, who Langendorff said, exchanged fire with the suspect — identified at Devin Patrick Kelley, who then got into an SUV and drove away.
Langendorff called 911 as he and the unidentified neighbor gave chase in their vehicle.
The chase ended in neighboring Guadalupe County, according to Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Robert Murphy.
At this point, it has not been disclosed by authorities whether Kelley sustained any injuries from his brief shootout with the neighbor or if he died of a self inflicted gunshot or from the crash of his vehicle when it swerved out of control in a sharp curve near country roads 307 and 539
This is an evolving story. A motive for the attack remains undetermined.
Photo credit: KSAT, via Associated Press