(NY DAILY NEWS) – 26 people have been confirmed dead and numerous others injured after a gunman opened fire Sunday morning at a Texas church, authorities said.
The shooting happened around 11:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, about 40 miles southeast of San Antonio. 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley of New Braunfels, Texas, has been named as the alleged gunman, although officials have not confirmed this news.
Kelley, who according to an unconfirmed LinkedIn account served four years in the Air Force, was killed after a brief chase into Guadalupe County. Sheriff Joe Tackitt said during a press conference it’s not clear if the shooter died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound or was shot by a citizen who pursued him following the shooting. The gunman was found dead in his vehicle, Tackitt said.
Authorities said the shooter used an AR assault rifle to carry out the deadly attack. So far, police do not have a motive.
Tackitt said the victims ranged in ages from five to 72. Authorities have not released the names of the victims, but one person killed has been confirmed by a family member. Frank Pomeroy, the church’s pastor, told ABC News that his 14-year-old daughter Annabelle Renee Pomeroy was killed.Frank Pomeroy was out of town at the time of the shooting.
“(Annabelle) was one very beautiful special child,” he said.
Police officers on the scene said the gunman is dead and there is no active threat in the area, KSAT News reports. Authorities have not released details on the gunman. Neighbors in the area told local media outlets around 50 people usually attend service on Sunday.
Texas governor Greg Abbott tweeted his condolences to everyone affected by the tragedy. “Our prayers are with all who were harmed by this evil act,” he posted. “Our thanks to law enforcement for their response.”
President Trump acknowledged the shooting during his trip to Asia, tweeting, “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.”
New York governor Andrew Cuomo said his heart breaks for the victims. “These mass shootings have become appalling and unforgivably common in our society, but we must not become numb to tragedy,” he said in a statement. “We cannot accept mass shootings as part of who we are — this can and must stop. In the memories of those we lost today in Texas, and last month in Las Vegas, and last year in Orlando, and all across this nation, we must come together and say: enough is enough.”
“Our hearts break for those men, women and children we lost on this darkest of days, and they break doubly because we have seen this too many times before. I join all New Yorkers in mourning this senseless tragedy.”