At least 26 people were killed when a gunman opened fire on a church in a rural community in Texas Sunday, law enforcement officials said. The victims ranged in age from 18 months to 77 years and included at least eight members of an extended family as well as a mother and her two young daughters, family members and officials said.
The gunman, identified by authorities as 26-year-old Devin Kelley, shot churchgoers at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a small town located in Wilson County. At least 20 others were injured in the attack and taken to local hospitals. Ten were in critical condition as of Monday.
Of the 26 people who died, 23 were found dead inside the church, while two people were found outside. One person died after being transferred to a local hospital, authorities said during a press conference Sunday.
Among those killed was the 14-year-old daughter of First Baptist Church’s pastor Frank Pomeroy, her mother Sherri Pomeroy told the AP. The couple was out of town during the shooting.
The attack, which has become one of the most deadly mass shootings in recent U.S. history, comes just a month after a shooter opened fire on a crowd at a concert in Las Vegas, killing 58 people.
The suspected Texas gunman was chased from the scene and later found dead in his vehicle from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said Monday.
Annabelle Pomeroy, 14
Fourteen-year-old Annabelle Pomeroy was among the 26 killed in Sunday’s church attack, her father told ABC News. Frank Pomeroy is the pastor of the First Baptist Church and said he and his wife Sherri Pomeroy were out of town when the gunman opened fire on his congregation. Annabelle is his youngest daughter.
Frank Pomeroy said Annabelle “was one very beautiful, special child.”
At a news conference, Sherri Pomeroy described the church congregation as a close-knit family. “We ate together, we laughed together, we cried together, and we worshipped together. Now most of our church family is gone, our building is probably beyond repair and the few of us that are left behind lost tragically yesterday,” she said. “As senseless as this tragedy was, our sweet Belle would not have been able to deal with losing so much family.”
Annabelle’s uncle Scott Pomeroy posted a tribute to Facebook, saying “Heaven truly gained a real beautiful angel this morning along with many more.”
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