SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas — Police in the small town of Sutherland Springs, Texas held a news conference following the mass shooting inside a church Sunday morning that left at least 26 people dead, according to authorities.
The wife of the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs says the couple’s 14-year-old daughter was among those killed in a mass shooting at the church.
Sherri Pomeroy, wife of Pastor Frank Pomeroy, said in a text message that she lost her daughter “and many friends” in the Sunday shooting. The text came in response to an interview request sent by The Associated Press to a phone number linked in online records to Frank Pomeroy.
Sherri Pomeroy says both she and her husband were out of town and trying to get back to Sutherland Springs, outside of San Antonio.
The shooter was killed after a brief chase north into neighboring Guadalupe County, according to Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Robert Murphy. The shooter was reportedly killed by police.
Two officials have identified the suspect in a mass shooting at a Texas church as Devin Kelley.
The officials — one a U.S. official and the other in law enforcement — spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation, which they were briefed on.
The U.S. official says Kelly lived in a suburb of San Antonio and that he doesn’t appear to be linked to organized terrorist groups. The official says investigators are looking at social media posts Kelley may have made in the days before Sunday’s attack, including one that appeared to show an AR-15 semiautomatic weapon.
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.
The Connally Memorial Medical Center in nearby Floresville, Texas, is “accepting and assessing victims” from the Sutherland Springs church shooting, according to hospital spokeswoman Megan Posey. The number of victims is unknown at this time.
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.”
“May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas,” tweeted President Donald Trump, who is in Japan on his first trip to Asia as president.
US Senator John Cornyn of Texas called the news “truly heartbreaking” in a tweet Sunday. “Please say a prayer for First Baptist congregation, first responders & the community there,” he said.
“While the details of this horrific act are still under investigation, Cecilia and I want to send our sincerest thoughts and prayers to all those who have been affected by this evil act,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in a statement Sunday. “I want to thank law enforcement for their response and ask that all Texans pray for the Sutherland Springs community during this time of mourning and loss.”
This is a developing story; check back for more updates.