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US massacre

  • Written by Suzanne Cordeiro
  • Published in World
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US mourning after gunman kills 26 at Texas church service

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, United States -- The United States was in mourning Monday after a gunman wearing a
bulletproof vest opened fire with an assault rifle on the congregation of a smalltown Texas church,
killing 26 people and wounding 20 more in the nation’s latest shooting massacre.
    
Five weeks after the worst shooting in modern US history President Donald Trump said the
nation was living in “dark times,” and ordered flags be flown half-staff at the White House and
federal buildings in the aftermath of the most recent tragedy.
    
The victims, who ranged in age from five to 72, were gunned down at First Baptist Church in
Sutherland Springs, a rural community of some 400 people located 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of
San Antonio.
    
The gunman, widely identified as Devin Kelley, 26, was described by authorities as a “young
white male” who was found dead in his vehicle after being confronted by a local resident.
    
The Air Force said Kelley served at a base in New Mexico starting in 2010 before being court-
martialed in 2012 for allegedly assaulting his wife and child.
    
He was sentenced to 12 months in confinement and received a “bad conduct” discharge, Air Force
spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told AFP. He was discharged in 2014.
    
Wearing all black, he fired outside the church before entering the building and continuing to
spray bullets, said Freeman Martin, regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
    
“As he exited the church, a local resident grabbed his rifle and engaged that suspect. The
suspect dropped his rifle, which was a Ruger AR assault-type rifle, and fled from the church. Our
local citizen pursued the suspect at that time,” Martin said.
    
Law enforcement later found Kelley dead in his car, which had crashed on the Wilson-Guadalupe
county line. It was not clear if he had killed himself or was shot by the resident who had confronted
him.
    
President Trump, in Japan as part of his nearly two-week long Asia tour, called the “horrific
shooting” an “act of evil.”
    
“Our hearts are broken but in dark times — and these are dark times — such as these, Americans
do what they do best: we pull together.”

Victims
    
Multiple weapons were found in the car, which was processed by bomb technicians.
    
“We have multiple, multiple crime scenes. We have the church, outside the church. We have
where the suspect’s vehicle was located,” said Martin.
    
“We have been following up on the suspect and where he’s from. We have Texas Rangers at all
the hospitals locating those and interviewing those who were injured.”
    
“There’s so many families who have lost family members. Fathers, mothers, sons, and
daughters,” Governor Greg Abbott said, warning the toll could rise.
    
“The tragedy, of course, is worsened by the fact that it occurred in a church, a place of
worship, where these people were innocently gunned down. We mourn their loss, but we support their
family members.”
    
The wounded had been transported to various hospitals with “injuries that vary from minor to
very severe,” Martin said.
    
The dead included the 14-year-old daughter of pastor Frank Pomeroy, the church leader told ABC
News.
    
Annabelle Renee Pomeroy “was one very beautiful, special child,” her father said.
    
Frank Pomeroy had been in the neighboring state of Oklahoma at the time of the shooting, and
was driving back to Texas after the tragedy.
    
Other victims, some of whom were evacuated by helicopter, included a six-year-old boy named
Rylan who was in surgery after being shot four times, his uncle told CBS News. A two-year-old was also
shot and wounded, The Dallas Morning News reported.
    
A spokeswoman for Connally Memorial Medical Center in nearby Floresville said the hospital
received eight patients with gunshot wounds.