More than 20 folks had been killed after a gunman walked right into a church in a tiny rural neighborhood about 30 miles east of San Antonio and opened fireplace on Sunday, an official mentioned.
The official, Paul W. Pfeil, a Wilson County, Tex., commissioner, mentioned he didn’t have a complete rely of the variety of lifeless within the taking pictures, which occurred on the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, however he mentioned it was “more than 20.”
Albert Gamez Jr., one other Wilson County commissioner, informed CNN that he was informed by the police that the gunman was chased into the following county and was killed, however it was not clear whether or not the police shot him or he killed himself.
Mr. Gamez mentioned he was informed by an emergency medical technician that 27 folks had been lifeless and 24 others had been injured.
He mentioned the victims had been nonetheless contained in the church. Sutherland Springs is a small neighborhood the place everybody is aware of each other, he mentioned.
He added: “You never expect something like this. My heart is broken.”
The unincorporated neighborhood has a inhabitants that numbers within the low a whole lot — the 2000 census was 362, in line with the Texas State Historical Association. The preliminary demise toll would quantity to about 7 % of the inhabitants.
The service on the church final Sunday, which was posted on YouTube, started with a rendition of a tune referred to as “Happiness Is the Lord.”
Then the pastor, Frank Pomeroy, informed his parishioners — 20 to 30 had been seen within the video — to stroll across the room and “shake somebody’s hand.”
“Tell them it’s good to see them in God’s house this morning,” he mentioned.
Videos posted on-line present lyrics to the hymns showing on tv screens with parishioners taking part in electrical guitars and an indication language interpreter translating the songs.
Devin Keen, a constable in Wilson County, mentioned “there were kids involved” within the taking pictures on the church.
Sheriff Joe Tackitt of Wilson County informed The Wilson County News man had entered the church and begun firing.
Megan Posey, a spokeswoman for Connally Memorial Medical Center in Floresville, Tex., mentioned that she didn’t know precisely what number of sufferers the hospital had acquired, however that it was persevering with to obtain extra.
The hospital has activated its emergency response group, she mentioned. Information concerning the circumstances of sufferers was not instantly out there.
“We’re sending more officers on the streets to help secure Connally Memorial while they’re bringing the casualties to the hospital,” Constable Keen mentioned.
Joseph Silva, 49, who lives about 5 miles northeast of Sutherland Springs, mentioned the police had instructed his household and neighbors to remain indoors.
In a cellphone interview on Sunday afternoon, he described Sutherland Springs as “a one-blinking-light town.”
“There is a gas station and a post office,” he mentioned. “That’s about all there really is.”
Mr. Silva mentioned he had been approached by a lady who mentioned she had two family members on the church who had been shot.
“There are a number of individuals just weeping and just wanted to know what’s happened to their loved ones,” he mentioned. “Everybody is pretty grief-stricken. Everyone’s worried.”
The First Baptist Church of La Vernia, Tex., about seven miles away, wrote on Facebook that it could open its doorways from 5 to 7 p.m.
“Today an unthinkable tragedy occurred in our community,” the church wrote. “There will be Pastors and leaders present to pray with you or to talk, and the altar will be open for us to fall at the feet of Jesus.”
President Trump, who was in Japan on a visit to a number of Asian international locations, supplied his badist.
Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas mentioned on Twitter: “Our prayers are with all who were harmed by this evil act. Our thanks to law enforcement for their response.”
Ken Paxton, the lawyer common of Texas, mentioned in a press release: “The thoughts and prayers of all Texans are with the people of Sutherland Springs as tragic reports come out of First Baptist Church. My office stands ready to badist local law enforcement as needed.”
On Facebook, a person described the church: “It is such a warm and welcoming church that is truly filled with the Holy Spirit and shows real Christian love and friendship.”
An earlier model of this text misspelled the surname of a Wilson County commissioner. He is Albert Gamez Jr., not Gamaz.
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