Sunday morning, a man walked into the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas and opened fire on the congregation during their service. Twenty-five people were declared dead at the scene and another died in hospital. There are currently 20 people with bullet wounds in stable condition. Victims rage in age from 18 months to 77 years-old and include the 14-year-old daughter of the church’s pastor, a pregnant woman and eight members of one family. The shooting is the deadliest in the state’s history and fifth-deadliest in the country to date.
— Brianna Sacks (@bri_sacks) November 6, 2017
14 yr old Annabelle Pomeroy was killed in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. She’s the pastor’s daughter.
Her parents were out of town. pic.twitter.com/9cXDYJMmlG
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) November 5, 2017
5 year old Brooke went to church on Sunday morning with her brother, her sisters and her mom. The precious little angel is now in heaven. pic.twitter.com/aCm1zVYpMe
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) November 6, 2017
The gunman was identified Monday as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley who was not from the small town (population less than 400), but whose in-laws regularly attended the church. They were not present this Sunday. Kelley received a bad conduct discharge from the U.S. Air Force in 2012 and spent a year in prison for assaulting his wife and child. Regardless of these charges, Kelley was able to legally purchase, in 2016, the rifle used in the shooting. This incident is reigniting the ongoing debate in the United States about background checks and who should be permitted to purchase a gun.
After the shooting, Kelley fled the scene and exchanged gunfire with an armed resident outside the church. Local Johnnie Langendorff was driving by at that moment and after a brief exchange with the armed resident, pursued Kelley who had taken off in a Ford Explorer. During the pursuit, Kelley lost control of his vehicle and ended up in a ditched where he was found dead from a gunshot wound.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) November 6, 2017
There was a vigil Sunday night for the victims of the shooting–in such a small town, the dead make up four per cent of the population. Political response has been divided between those who (always) say it’s too soon to politicize the issue and talk about gun control and those who see no better time to have that discussion (which needs to result in actual legislation). President Trump tweeted his condolences from Japan, the first stop on his 13-day tour of Asia.
‘This isn’t a guns situation,’ he said in a press conference Monday, ‘This is a mental health problem at the highest level. It’s a very, very sad event.’
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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2017
May God also grant all of us the wisdom to ask what concrete steps we can take to reduce the violence and weaponry in our midst.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 6, 2017
These tragedies aren’t inevitable. Don’t let hopelessness win today. We must persist in our efforts to prevent gun violence.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 6, 2017
No, they WERE praying, at a church. They need GUN CONTROL LAWS instead of you filling your pockets with NRA money.
— Ale (@aliasvaughn) November 5, 2017