Police have identified the mass murderer in today’s church shooting, while the pastor of the First Baptist Church in South Southerland has confirmed that his own 14-year-old daughter was among those killed.
A press briefing is expected shortly.
Wilson Country officials have told reporters that as many as 27 people are dead and nearly as many injured, though local officials have not yet held a press conference to confirm numbers. Other reports put the death count at 25, and MSNBC was calling the mass murder the largest-ever shooting at a house of worship.
For reactions to the shooting, read Deadline’s story here.
If the number is confirmed, the figure would be 4% of the town’s population, according to a Dallas-Fort Worth ABC affiliate.
The church is known to videotape services (see an example below), though video of the shooting has not been confirmed.
Law enforcement officials identified the shooter as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley of Texas. Police confirmed his death, but it is as-yet unclear if he was killed by police or took his own life.
Church Pastor Frank Pomeroy told ABC News that one of the victims is his 14-year-old daughter Annabelle. Pomeroy told ABC he was not at the church when the shooting occurred, and was driving back from a visit to Oklahoma.
In an off-camera interview with MSNBC, the pastor’s wife Sherry Pomeroy confirmed that their daughter was one of the dead.
President Donald Trump, on a trip to Asia, said earlier that he is monitoring the mass shooting tragedy at a small Texas church. “May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.”
The shooter was reported dead following a brief chase north into neighboring Guadalupe County, according to Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Robert Murphy. It was unclear whether he was shot by police or himself.
Witnesses said the shooter was in full combat gear and his victims include at least one child. He entered the church at 11:30 AM local time, according to reports.
Cable news channels immediately interrupted regular programming Sunday to report that the man had opened fire inside the church, about 40 miles east of San Antonio. Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez Jr. soon reported that more than 20 people were dead.
Reports that children were killed, while not confirmed, are likely accurate, neighbors said. The church is a child-friendly congregation, as is clear in this video of a recent service.
Lisa de Moraes contributed to this report.