Updates: Male shooter kills at least 20 at Texas church;shooting may have been on video

Here’s what is known about today’s tragic shooting in a small Texas town according to national, local news reports and social media posts:

  • Update 5:38 pm PST: As we learn more, additional updates will be added to this post or in additional reports. Check back for additional information as it becomes available.
  • Update 4:50 pm PST: Several news outlets are confirming the shooters name is Devin Patrick Kelley(spelling of shooter unconfirmed) and that his home is being searched for explosives and other clues. Devin Kelley reportedly was dishonorably discharged from the military and is believed to be a Muslim convert.

  • According to this report from Santa Monica Observer, church members seemed to have known the perpetrator, whom some call a convert to Islam

The shooter is dead. He has been officially identified as Devin Patrick Kelley, a former US Air Force enlisted man and Sunday school teacher.

The shooter walked into the church in Southerland Springs Texas at 11:45 am Sunday morning. Churchgoers knew the shooter who carried automatic weapons.

A LinkedIn page in the shooter’s name shows that Devin Kelley served in the U.S. Air Force “from his 2009 high-school graduation until 2013,” The Daily Beast reported. According to The New York Times, Kelley is from Comal County, which is not the county where the church is located. His motive and why he targeted the Wilson County church is not clear. Comal County is located northeast of San Antonio, Texas. The gunman is 26-years-old, The Times reported. The Daily Beast reported that Kelley was a “resident of New Braunfels, a suburb of San Antonio.” Kelly’s Facebook page was quickly scrubbed.

A person who said she works at a gas station across the street from the church told ABC News she heard rapid gunfire at around 11:15 a.m., leading congregants from the church as well as customers at the station to run inside for cover.

“We heard several shots and we all started running inside the store,” she said.

“It lasted about 15 seconds. I yelled, ‘Get down! Get inside!’ and we all went into hiding,” said the woman, who said she is 49 but declined to give her name.

Officials have identified the shooter who killed 26 people in a Texas church Sunday morning.

Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, of New Braunfels, Tex., has been named as the alleged shooter, according to CBS.

Kelley was killed after a brief chase into Guadalupe County, although it’s unclear how.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is searching his home for explosives, according to ABC.

An unconfirmed LinkedIn account for Kelley lists four years of service in the Air Force and a month as a teacher aide for a Vacation Bible School in Kingsville, Tex., about two hours south of the site of the massacre.

Kelley was reportedly given a dishonorable discharge and court-martialed in May 2014, according to CBS.

The shooting began around 11:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, about 40 miles southeast of San Antonio.

Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director Freeman Martin said that the suspect was dressed in all black “tactical-type gear” with a ballistic vest.

He was spotted first at a Valero gas station before crossing the street to the church, where he began firing a Ruger AR assault rifle outside the building before entering and continuing to fire.

Once he left the church, a local resident “grabbed his rifle and engaged” the suspect, Martin said.

Only one victim has been identified so far: Annabelle Pomeroy, 14, daughter of church pastor Frank Pomeroy.

  • Per officials the suspect had an assault type semi-automatic rifle, a .233 Ruger. His vehicle had multiple weapons. Freeman Martin, spokesperson for the Texas Dept Of Public Safety said there were multiple weapons in the suspects car. They have many victims and witnesses to interview and a motive is still unknown. Victims age in range from 5-72 years old, 26 are confirmed dead according to Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
  • The shooter started firing outside the church then went inside. He then left the church as a citizen chased him down using his own gun to fire at the suspect.
  • It’s not yet known if police, the citizen or police took him down.
  • Update 4:13 pm PST: An unconfirmed report says the shooting was revenge two years after a white supremacist, Dylann Roof, entered a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, and shot nine people to death. Dylann was sentenced to death for a hate crime after targeting blacks at the Charleston church two years ago(this sounds like a conspiracy rather than facts).
  • Update 4:03 pm PST: According to several sources on Facebook, the shooter has been identified as Devin P. Kelly… this is unconfirmed but sounds like it could be legitimate, hopefully, the upcoming press conference will provide more details and confirm reports since the shooter is dead
  • Per an article from viralviral.ga: Devin P. Kelley was identified as the gunman who walked into the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on a Sunday morning and gunned down dozens of people.The horrific mass shooting wounded almost everyone inside the small white church building in the town of only a few hundred people. Authorities in Sutherland Springs, Texas have confirmed that there are multiple casualties – as many as 24 were killed – after frantic social media reports described a man walking into the church and shooting parishioners.
  • Update 3:30 pm the pastor’s 14-year-old daughter was killed, and at least four other children were shot. Their conditions are unknown.
  • The pastor and his wife were out of town.
  • Governor Abbott is on his way to Sutherland Springs, may be reason for delayed press conference
  • KENS 5 is reporting several of the deceased were pregnant women and a six-year-old boy is in surgery
  • According to a local official, at least 20 are dead and over 20 are injured. (Nearly the entire congregation and 3-4% of the town!)
  • Other reports say a two-year-old was also shot, it is not known if the baby survived.
  • However, these numbers could change pending further investigation and updated reports.
  • Per CNN the church is known to stream their services on their Youtube channel, so it’s possible the shooting may have been seen live or that there is a video of the shooting incident.
  • One witness indicates the shooter was wearing “full gear” and reloaded his weapon at least twice.
  • Local officials will hold a news conference soon

Watch below for live updates:

Watch below for more:

Here are some of the details we know according to the Heavy, local and national news reports and local officials:

Neighbors say they heard shooter may have reloaded multiple times, around 50 people usually at service pic.twitter.com/tkAYMp2Y8A
— Max Massey (@MaxMasseyTV) November 5, 2017

At least 6 helicopters called to transport victims pic.twitter.com/GTwwQfPx6L
— Max Massey (@MaxMasseyTV) November 5, 2017

FBI just arrived on the scene. The scene is getting pushed back. pic.twitter.com/vyIyNPZHou
— Max Massey (@MaxMasseyTV) November 5, 2017

Families in tears wait to see if their family and friends are safe. Praying for the safety of all those involved. pic.twitter.com/yjzK7lZJ1S
— Max Massey (@MaxMasseyTV) November 5, 2017

People are gathering at the Community Building learning why they can about their smoky and friends. Heartbreaking news and tears. pic.twitter.com/wBxjMPRbiD
— Max Massey (@MaxMasseyTV) November 5, 2017

This is the scene of the shooting st the church pic.twitter.com/0sf1woffOl
— Max Massey (@MaxMasseyTV) November 5, 2017

 

SA: Active shooter with 15 ppl down at the baptist church in Sutherland Springs down my road, be careful everybody‼️‼️
— MESSENGER (@SydneyMadisonM) November 5, 2017

Area of the church is now blocked off and taped off. Family and friends still waiting to hear if their loved ones are safe. pic.twitter.com/YsKz78i3Lg
— Max Massey (@MaxMasseyTV) November 5, 2017

PLS PRAY FOR MY DAD BC MY DAD IS AT THE SHOOTING SCENE‼️
— MESSENGER (@SydneyMadisonM) November 5, 2017

People can’t even go to church without being killed. Prayers for Sutherland springs.
— Al ⚰️ (@Alisonlea6) November 5, 2017

A photo in Sutherland Springs posted on a community page on Facebook.

Authorities in Sutherland Springs, Texas have confirmed that there are multiple casualties – as many as 27 dead – in a mass shooting at a Baptist church in the small community after social media reports described a man, possibly in “full gear,” walking into the church and shooting parishioners.

Casualty counts grew throughout the morning. Wilson Co. Commissioner Albert Gamez, Jr. told CNN that the casualty total was now 27, and ABC News reported that as many as 30 other people were injured. A KSAT-TV reporter at the scene said that an “ambu-bus” had responded, which is used for multiple victims. The shooter, who has not been named, is dead. Compounding the tragedy, there are no medical facilities” in tiny Sutherland Springs, with the closest hospital 30 miles away, a KENS5 reporter noted.

Some local news reports indicated that the church may have lost half of its congregation, as only about 40-50 people generally attend church services on any given morning. The community itself is so small, numbering only hundreds, that almost everyone in Sutherland Springs is likely to know someone injured. “My heart is broken,” Gamez said to 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, what can happen.”

Here’s what you need to know:

Some details were emerging from reporters at the scene, and they agreed on this: A male suspect walked into the church and opened fire. “A man in full gear came into the church and unloaded several rounds, and then took off in a vehicle,” a KSAT-TV reporter said in a live report on Facebook Live. The FBI was at the scene after the tragedy unfolded. The community is a rural one, and the shooting occurred during church services, a KEN5 reporter said. One of the first responders was a deputy who was at a different church service a few miles away.

One woman wrote on Facebook, “Please pray for Sutherland Springs a gunman in full gear walked into the Baptist church and there are casualties……he took off crash his vehicle not far from my daughter’s house and was on foot i believe the police got him. For those of you calling about my daughter and family there are all ok. Pray for these families this is absolutely heartbreaking.”

Although authorities had not provided specific details yet on the mass shooting reports because they were busy responding to the chaotic scene, people on Twitter and Facebook wrote within minutes that a man, possibly with an assault rifle, had shot multiple people. People posted frantic messages on social media about loved ones. Witnesses reported that the man walked into the church around 11:30 a.m. Sunday and opened fire, KSAT-TV reported, adding, “The church is located in the 500 block of 4th Street in the small, south Texas town about 40 miles east of San Antonio.” (Recent population figures said the town has only 362 people.)

First Baptist Church, of Sutherland Springs, Texas, has posted videos of its services on YouTube. That raises the possibility that the shooting was captured on video, although this is not yet clear.

Pastor Frank Pomeroy oversees the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where a gunman opened fire on Sunday. Pomeroy’s wife, Sherri, told NBC News that her husband was out of town during the shooting, but their daughter was inside. It’s unknown if the daughter was one of the victims of the shooting incident. You can read more about the pastor here:

Pastor Frank Pomeroy: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

The scene outside the church was tragic and heartbreaking as crying family members of loved ones gathered outside, desperate for information about them, and praying. A local hospital has reported receiving multiple victims. The ATF was responding to the scene. One woman was in the kitchen when the shooting occurred and survived the attack, a KENS5 journalist reported from the scene.

“Sheriff Joe Tackitt confirmed that there were multiple casualties and multiple fatalities. The shooter has been taken down,” reported Wilson County News. Other reports said police shot the suspect, who has not yet been identified, although this was not confirmed. Videos and photos posted to social media, more of which you can see below, showed a massive law enforcement response to the scene.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott condemned what he called an “evil act.” He wrote on Twitter, “Our prayers are with all who were harmed by this evil act. Our thanks to law enforcement for their response. More details from DPS soon.” CNN reported that a “witness, a cashier at a gas station across the street from the church, said she heard about 20 shots being fired in quick succession while a church service was underway around 11:30 a.m. local time.” Wilson County Commissioner Paul Pheil told MySA, “I would say it’s up there around 20-plus, I’m not sure,” of the number dead.

President Donald Trump tweeted, “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.” One reporter described seeing tarps in the yard, possibly covering dead bodies.

A reporter for KSAT-TV also says the shooter is dead, and that police confirmed there were multiple victims, writing, “BREAKING Confirmed shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, police say multiple victims.” That reporter, Matt Massey, also wrote that “neighbors say they heard shooter may have reloaded multiple times, around 50 people usually at service.” He reported that at least six helicopters were called in to transport victims.

The assault rifle reports, which are not yet confirmed, originated on social media. “Oh my God if you live in Sutherland Springs or Wilson County please go inside and stay safe. My family just called me freaking out because across the street from their house a guy with an assault rifle started shooting in our town church and even shot my brother’s house. If ur from my hometown go inside, lock ur doors and so be safe and I love you all,” wrote one woman on Facebook.

According to CNN, “The shooter was killed after a brief chase north into neighboring Guadalupe County, according to Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Robert Murphy. It is unclear if the shooter was killed by police or took his own life.”

Horrifically, early reports say that a child is among the victims. “A witness at the scene reported a 2-year-old was also shot,” reported KENS5. The child’s condition was not clear. There was no official word on the number of casualties.

Another man said that people he knew were inside the church. He wrote on Facebook, “Just got a call from (named removed) prayers needed for Sutherland Springs community. Someone went into the Baptist Church and shot 15 people. The guy is one the run and they have the roads closed down. (Names removed) were at their church in LaVernia. Please keep prayers going.”

Youth are heavily involved in the church. “The youth are also involved in many outreach and community service activities such as visiting a local nursing home, running a concession stand, helping neighbors clear property after a storm and participating in our church workdays,” its website states. “We meet every Wednesday at 7:00 PM, Thursday at 7:00 PM and Sunday at 9:45 AM. Come as you are. We are looking forward to meeting you!”

“I’m hearing there was a shooting at the First Baptist Church on 539 near Hartfield Rd in the Sutherland Springs area. Lots of sheriff’s deputies on scene, blocking traffic. EMS from all over Wilson County have been called in. Multiple victims,” one social media user wrote. Another man wrote on Facebook, “A bunch of people have been shot in Sutherland Springs . The church and gas station people walked in and started shooting so far herd 15 dead maybe more.”

This article will be updated as more is learned about the mass shooting.

Here’s more from WKBN local news in Texas:

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, TX (AP) —A sheriff says a man walked into a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and started shooting, leaving multiple people dead.

The Wilson County News reports that Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt said the shooter has been taken down. It wasn’t immediately known how many people were killed and wounded or who carried out the attack. An official told CNN 27 people were dead.

First responders converged on the church in the small town southeast of San Antonio and helicopters are taking victims to hospitals.

Sutherland Springs is a community of about 400 people 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of San Antonio.

Check back here for updates as this story continues to develop.

 

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