TEXAS – At least 26 people were killed in Sunday’s church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said at a press conference.
About 20 others were wounded, said Freeman Martin, a regional director with the Texas Department of Public Safety, with victims ranging in age from 5 to 72 years old.
Among the dead is the 14-year-old daughter of the First Baptist Church’s pastor, Frank Pomeroy, according to his wife, Sherri Pomeroy, the girl’s mother.
The couple were traveling out of state when the shooting occurred.
Authorities have not said what may have motivated the suspected shooter, who was later found dead in his vehicle.
The shooting has devastated the small Texas town east of San Antonio, described as a place where “everybody knows everybody.”
Twenty-six-year-old Devin Kelley was a resident of New Braunfels, a northeast suburb of San Antonio, and police eventually raided his home with bomb-sniffing dogs on Sunday afternoon.
The gunman’s motive is still not clear, but the Daily Beast reports that, according to public records, Kelley was married and that his mother-in-law had a P.O. Box in Sutherland Springs. CBS News reports that Kelley served in the U.S. Air Force from 2010–2014, but was court-martialed in 2014 and received a dishonorable discharge.
If he was dishonorably discharged, as The Guardian’s Lois Beckett points out on Twitter, that means Kelley should have been disqualified from owning a gun.
If that’s the case, it is not yet clear how he obtained the multiple weapons law-enforcement officials said he had with him during the attack.It seems Kelley also recently showed off an AR-15-style long rifle on his Facebook page, and the Daily Beast has obtained a screenshot of that post, which was apparently published on October 29 with the caption, “She’s a bad bitch.”
He subsequently made the photo his profile’s cover image, but it’s not yet clear if the weapon in the image is the primary one he used in his attack.
Here are the latest developments:
- The suspected shooter has been identified as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, according to two law enforcement sources who have been briefed on the investigation.
- In April 2016, Kelley purchased the Ruger AR-556 rifle he used in the shooting from an Academy Sports & Outdoors store in San Antonio, Texas, a law enforcement official said. He indicated he didn’t have a disqualifying criminal history when he filled out the background check paperwork at the store, the official said. Kelley listed a Colorado Springs, Colorado, address when he bought the gun.
- Kelley was a member of the US Air Force and served at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his discharge, according to Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek.
- Kelley was court-martialed in 2012 for assault on his spouse and assault on their child, according to Stefanek. Kelley served a year in prison and received a bad conduct discharge in 2014, the spokeswoman said. His rank was also reduced, she said.
- Speaking from Japan, President Donald Trump condemned the shooting as an “act of evil” and called it “horrific.”
- “We don’t know names of any of the victims at this time,” said Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt in a press conference Sunday evening. As victims are identified, next of kin will be notified, he said.
Sutherland Springs is in Wilson County, about 30 miles east of San Antonio.
“My heart is broken,” Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez Jr. told CNN. “We never think where it can happen, and it does happen. It doesn’t matter where you’re at. In a small community, real quiet and everything, and look at this.”
Dana Fletcher, who owns a business down the road from the church, told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield that Sutherland Springs is a “very small” but “very tight-knit community.”
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