SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas — People crowded outside the post office across the street from the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs Sunday evening for a prayer vigil for those affected by the shooting Sunday.
Led by Stephen Curry of Le Vernia United Methodist Church and Mike Gonzales of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, people sang and prayed, candles in hand. Gov. Greg Abbott was among those grieving for those lost in what the governor earlier described as the largest mass shooting in state history.
At least 26 churchgoers — including several children — were killed and least 10 more were wounded, law enforcement officials said.
Among the mourners at the vigil Sunday night was Mackenzie Hanner, 18, who has attended the church all her life. It was her intention to go to church this Sunday as well, but as fate would have it, she overslept.
“I was gonna go, but I woke up like …10 minutes after it happened,” she said. “My mom woke me up this morning yelling at me to call people and make sure everyone was OK.”
She said the people in the congregation are close.
“I see everyone there as my family, so it feels like I lost family,” Hanner said.
Debbie Jones, 55, was also at the vigil. Her friend was in the service this morning. She still doesn’t know if she made it out unharmed.
“We’re just devastated,” Jones said. “We’re just waiting.”
Some people who were gathered expressed shock that the rampage would happen in such a small Texas town. Others recognized such acts could happen anywhere.
Mario Cavazos, 53, who was also at the vigil, thinks he might have seen the shooter as he made his way from a nearby gas station to the church. He described a man garbed in black cross the street from the Valero to the church.
He said he didn’t think much of it and went home — about a block away from the church — and soon heard gunshots.
“I told my wife, those are not firecrackers because there are like 15 shots, and then they paused and then they did it again,” he said.
The killer, pursued by a good Samaritan with a gun, was found fatally shot a short time later in a neighboring Texas county, said a law enforcement official who is not authorized to comment publicly.
Authorities did not immediately identify a motive for the attack, and they did not officially identify the gunman. But two law enforcement officials who were not authorized to comment publicly identified the gunman as Devin Kelley, 26, of nearby Comal County, Texas.
Contributing: Greg Toppo, USA TODAY. Follow Eleanor Dearman on Twitter: @CallerElly
Vigil held in Sutherland Springs after First Baptist Church shooting