26 killed in deadliest mass shooting in Texas history: governor

Gunman is said to be a young male in his early 20s

A gunman who opened fire at a small Texas church on Sunday has killed 26 people and wounded at least 20.

No name has been released and no motive identified for the gunman who was either killed or killed himself following the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.

“We believe he’s a young white male, maybe in his early 20s, dressed in all black tactical type gear,” said Texas Department of Public Safety regional director Freeman Martin.

“He was wearing a ballistic vest.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbot confirmed the number of dead and said he had already spoken to President Donald Trump and both of Texas’ senators.

“We are dealing with the largest mass shooting in our state’s history,” he said during a press conference Sunday afternoon.

The governor said his thoughts and prayers were with the victims and that “the details of this horrific act are still under investigation.”

Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt Jr. thanked the public for their outpouring of support.

“We don’t have any names of any of the victims,” he said. “We’re still trying to work the crime scene.”

Martin said that the shooter was first spotted at a gas station across the street from the church at 11 a.m. local time (9 a.m. PST). This was confirmed after the shooting took place, not before, authorities noted.

He then crossed the street to the church, exited his vehicle and began firing at the church from the outside before entering the building as he continued to shoot.

“As he exited the church, a local resident grabbed his rifle and engaged the suspect,” said Martin.

“The suspect dropped his rifle – which was an… AR assault-type rifle – and fled from the church.”

The local resident followed the suspect as he got into his car and drove off before veering off the road.

The suspect was found dead in his vehicle, although law enforcement could not confirm how he died.

The shooting, which took place at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, is the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than two months. On Oct. 1, Stephen Paddock opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and injuring more than 500.

The community of Sutherland Springs, where the population numbers in the hundreds, is a small unincorporated area in Wilson County approximately 30 miles southeast of San Antonio.

The wounded were taken to hospitals. Video on KSAT television showed first responders taking a stretcher from the church to a waiting AirLife helicopter. Some victims were taken by medical helicopter to the Brooke Army Medical Center, the station said.

Megan Posey, a spokeswoman for Connally Memorial Medical Center, which is in Floresville and about 10 miles from the church, said “multiple” victims were being treated for gunshot wounds. She declined to give a specific number but said it was less than a dozen.

A woman who lives about 10 minutes away from Sutherland Springs in Floresville and was monitoring the chaos on a police scanner and in Facebook community groups, said that everyone knows everyone in the sparsely populated county.

“This is horrific for our tiny little tight-knit town,” said Alena Berlanga. “Everybody’s going to be affected and everybody knows someone who’s affected,” she said.

President Trump, currently in Japan, tweeted to say that the FBI was investigating the shooting.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also offered his thoughts and prayers, adding that “my office stands ready to assist local law enforcement as needed.”

Condolences are pouring in on the church’s Facebook page:

– with files from The Canadian Press


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Shooting

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

VIDEO: Port Clements bumper golf course in full swing

Volunteers, rec staff transformed soccer field into small, social distancing-friendly golf course

Gwaii Trust Society creates ‘Staycation Grant’ for Haida Gwaii residents

Residents may apply for up to $250 to explore adventure opportunities in their own backyard

Police investigate July 2 homicide in Houston

Man succumbed to injuries at Pearson Road residence

Iconic Haida Gwaii species to be included in literary field guide for ‘Cascadia’

Experts, artists working on literary field guide with ‘kinship clusters’ for Pacific Northwest

Kristi Lane Sinclair art doc ‘taking a different stance’ on the Gaag.iid

Toronto-based Haida artist hopes to start editing passion project on the fabled ‘wild man’ next month

UPDATE: Military reservist facing 22 charges after allegedly ramming gates at Rideau Hall

The man, who police have not yet officially identified, will be charged with multiple offences

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

a piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016.

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

Community infrastructure funding announced for 24 Northern B.C. projects

Recipients include municipalities, First Nations and not-for-profits

White-throated sparrows have changed their tune, B.C. study unveils

Study marks an unprecedented development scientists say has caused them to sit up and take note

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Lower Mainland teacher facing child pornography charges

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

Most Read