Pastor’s 14-year-old daughter among dead in Texas church shooting
SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas – Twenty-six people have been killed in a church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, according to Governor of Texas.
Among the dead was the 14-year-old daughter of the church’s pastor, Frank Pomeroy, according to his wife, Sherri Pomeroy, the girl’s mother. The couple was traveling out of state when the shooting occurred.
Authorities say many more have been injured in the attack that has devastated the small Texas town described as a place where “everybody knows everybody.”
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, Murphy said.
Continuing Coverage: Texas Church Massacre
The FBI is responding to the scene of the shooting, according to Michelle Lee, spokeswoman for the FBI’s San Antonio field office.
Local police also have responded to the scene, which occurred at the First Baptist Church, a witness told CNN. The 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.
Sutherland Springs is in Wilson County, about 30 miles east of San Antonio.
Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez Jr. told CNN that multiple people were killed and numerous people were injured in Sunday’s shooting.
“My heart is broken,” Gamez said. “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.”
A law enforcement source told CNN that a man walked into the church and began shooting about 11:30 a.m. local time. Agents from the San Antonio field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are en route to the scene, the source said.
A small community, devastated
About 100 family members of victims have gathered inside the Sutherland Springs Community Building next to the church, waiting for news of their loved ones, 26-year-old David Flores told CNN. Local law enforcement, the FBI and the Red Cross are also at the community center.
“My dad saw the gunman run into the church building and then he heard shots and saw people running,” Flores told CNN. “People covered in blood and screaming. It was pandemonium everywhere.”
“Looking around, it’s very sorrowful and the pastors from all the local churches right now are just trying to console everybody,” said Flores when asked to describe the scene inside the community center.
“There were several children injured,” he said. “I know three, personally, who are in critical condition.”
There will be a vigil tonight at 7 p.m. at the Sutherland Springs post office, according to Debra Morales, a volunteer coordinating relief efforts for victims’ family members at the Immediate Family Command Center.
“We have never had this happen before,” Morales said. “It’s all just very upsetting.”
The Connally Memorial Medical Center in nearby Floresville, Texas, received 8 patients with gunshot wounds from the Sutherland Springs church shooting, a statement from the hospital said. Four of those patients were transferred to University Hospital in San Antonio to receive a higher level of care.
One of those patients was in critical condition and needed to be air-lifted.
Three patients were treated at Connally Memorial Medical Center and have been released, the statement said. One patient is in stable condition there.
At least 8 patients are being treated at University Hospital in San Antonio, according to spokeswoman Leni Kirkman, who added the situation is still active and the hospital may receive more patients.
A spokesman for Brooke Army Medical Center also confirmed to CNN that the facility has received patients from the shooting, but the spokesman didn’t have a specific number.
Dana Fletcher, who owns a business down the road from the church, told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield that Sutherland Springs is a “very small” but “very tight-knit community.”
“There’s two gas stations, the church, a community center, post office, a Dollar General, a tire shop,” she said. “That’s about it.”