SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas (AP/WNCN/CBS News) — Authorities and family members said 26 churchgoers have been killed — including the pastor’s teen daughter and a pregnant mother — in a Sunday morning shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a small town outside San Antonio.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott provided the death toll in a news conference Sunday evening.
Of those who were killed, 23 were found dead in the church, two died outside the church and another died after being transported from the scene.
The victims range in age between 5 and 72, authorities said.
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“As a state we’re dealing with the largest mass shooting in our state’s history,” Abbott said.
Two officials later told The Associated Press that the Texas church shooter was named Devin Kelley. Officials said that the suspect was wearing all black when he entered the church and began shooting.
During the news conference Sunday night, officials said the gunman fled the church in a vehicle after the shooting and led authorities on a chase. The shooter was found dead, either by a self-inflicted wound or during a confrontation with police.
One official says between 10 to 15 people were also injured but stressed the investigation was early and the figures could change. Authorities are still trying to determine a motive.
The wife of the pastor of the church 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.
Meanwhile, Nick Uhlig, 34, says a cousin of his died in the shooting. Uhlig said he didn’t go to the Sutherland Springs church Sunday because he was out late Saturday. He says his cousin who was killed had three children and was pregnant with a fourth. He didn’t know specifics about how the other was doing.
Federal law enforcement swarmed the scene to offer assistance, including ATF investigators and members of the FBI’s evidence collection team.
KSAT-TV reported that a witness reported seeing a man walk into the First Baptist Church and began shooting around 11:30 a.m.
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.
President Trump said on Twitter that he is monitoring the situation from Japan.
“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,” Mr. Trump tweeted Sunday.