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.”
“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 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.