Sunday February 18, 2018
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26 people killed as a Shooter opens fire in a Church in Texas

First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs is about 50 kilometers from San Antonio in Texas

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Shooting at a Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas
Law enforcement officers gather in front of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in response to a shooting, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)
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Americans witnessed another mass shooting Sunday, with at least 20 dead and 24 hurt in a church in a small town in Texas. A newspaper report says a two-year old is among the wounded.

Worshipers were about half way through a service in at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, about 50 kilometers from San Antonio, when a man began to shoot people. Police say the unidentified gunman also died.

Ambulances and police rushed to the gruesome crime scene, and experts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms are joining the investigation. Sutherland Springs has a population of about 600 and is described as a “close-knit community.”

Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas where mass shooting happened on Nove,ber 5,2017
(1/2)Fire trucks are seen near a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Nov. 5, 2017, in a picture obtained via social media. (MAX MASSEY/KSAT 12)

“May God be with the people of Sutherland Springs,” President Donald Trump tweeted.

Trump said he was monitoring the situation from Japan, the first stop on his five-nation Asian trip. Texas Governor Gregg Abbott says his prayers are also with all those “harmed by this evil act.”

Media reports say the church broadcasts its weekly services on YouTube, so it is possible the massacre was caught on camera.

The San Antonio FBI branch said its agents had been deployed, and there was no indication of the gunman’s motive. The FBI also said that while only one shooter was reported, it was looking into other possibilities.

First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas
First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas

First Baptist Church Pastor Frank Pomeroy told ABC News that his 14-year-old daughter Annabelle Renee Pomeroy is among the deceased.

Pomeroy was in Oklahoma at the time of the shooting. He told ABC News he was on his way back to Sutherland Springs.

He said every one of our close friends is amongst the deceased

Pomeroy said he wants the world to know his daughter “was one very beautiful special child”.

ABC News reported that sources say the suspect has been preliminary identified by authorities as a white male in his 20s who recently showed off AR15 style-looking gun on Facebook.

Sunday’s Texas shooting comes just weeks after a separate mass killing in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 1. In that case, Stephen Paddock opened fire on a country music concert, killing 58 and wounding about 500. Paddock shot from his 32nd floor hotel room and killed himself as police moved in. Investigators in the Las Vegas shooting are still trying to understand the killer’s motivation.

Since 2007, there have been 22 shootings in the U.S. in which more than five people were killed, not including the assailant.
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Texas Gunman Practiced Target on Animals Ahead of the Shooting Massacre: Ex Colleague

Jessika Edwards, who worked with Kelley at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 to 2012, said Kelley told her that he was "using the dogs as target practice".

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Texas gunman
Markers are seen at the front f the building as law enforcement officials continue to investigate the scene of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. A man opened fire inside the church in the small South Texas community on Sunday, killing and wounding many. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (VOA)

Washington, November 10, 2017 : Devin Kelley, the gunman who killed 26 persons inside a church in Texas, had claimed that he bought animals for target practice, according to a former Air Force colleague.

Jessika Edwards, who worked with Kelley at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 to 2012, said Kelley told her that he was “using the dogs as target practice”.

ALSO READ Texas Mass Shooting: ‘It isn’t a guns situation, but a mental problem’, Says Trump

The morbid admission came in Facebook messages starting in 2014, Edwards told CNN.

Though Edwards was not sure if the Texas gunman was telling the truth, the odd behavior was enough for her to stop communicating with him.

Kelley was accused in 2014 of punching a dog in Colorado. He initially pleaded guilty to animal cruelty, but the case was dismissed after he paid fines.

Edwards said the Texas gunman also displayed a fascination with mass murders while he was enlisted in the Air Force.

“He would make jokes about
wanting to kill somebody…
And we would say,
‘wait, that’s not funny’.”

The obsession was so pronounced, Edwards said, that when Kelley was disciplined for poor performance she told her bosses to “back off or he would shoot the place up”.

“He was always getting into trouble… It was problem after problem,” Edwards said.

A law enforcement source confirmed to CNN that FBI agents interviewed Edwards about her interactions with the gunman.

In 2012, Kelley was court-martialed and convicted for assaulting his wife and stepson.

Edwards said those domestic problems boiled over in the job and Kelley would come in depressed and unfocused.

After the shooting massacre on November 5, the Air Force has been criticised for failing to notify federal law enforcement officials of Kelley’s conviction.

Kelley was dressed in black and wearing a bullet-proof vest when he attacked the church in Sutherland Springs, a quiet town some 45 km southeast of San Antonio.

The victims ranged from under two-years-old to 77. (IANS)