A gunman opened fire Sunday at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, in a rural area outside of San Antonio. Here's what we know:
From Monday morning media briefing
Some key points:
- Dead and injured: Texas Department of Public Safety regional director Freeman Martin said that in addition to the 26 killed in the incident, 20 were wounded — 10 critically and four seriously. The others received relatively minor injuries.
- The weapons: Fred Milanowski, an official from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the gunman, Devin Kelley, was in possession of a Ruger AR15-type semiautomatic rifle and two handguns. The Ruger was dropped outside the church and the handguns were found in his vehicle. Milanowski said it was unclear how Kelley was able to buy the guns in light of the fact that he had been court-martialed for domestic violence.
- Clues to motivation: Martin described the tragedy as possibly arising from a "domestic situation" involving the shooter's mother-in-law, a congregant at the church. He mentioned "threatening texts" sent by Kelley. "We can tell you that there was a domestic situation going on within this family," Martin said. "This was not racially motivated, it wasn't over religious beliefs."
- Correction on ages of victims: Martin adjusted his earlier report on the ages of those killed, who he had said were 5 to 72 years old. Instead, he said, the age range was 18 months to 77. He said the first set of ages was for those wounded.
Of the 26 people killed, 23 died inside the church, two were killed outside the church and another victim was transported to a hospital and died, Martin said.
Sheriff Joe Tackitt of Wilson County, where Sutherland Springs is located, told the USA TODAY Network that 12 to 14 children were among the victims. When asked whether he expects the death toll to rise, Tackitt said he believes most of the people at the hospital are in stable condition.
“It’s just a horrific sight,” Tackitt said of the scene inside the church. “You don’t expect to walk into a church and see something like that, especially when all the bodies were there, and seeing the children. That’s what hurts the most.”
Kelley was dressed in black and wore a mask and ballistic vest, Martin said. He began firing outside the church and then entered the building and continued spraying bullets. As he left the church, a local resident with a rifle confronted the gunman, who dropped his Ruger AR assault-type rifle and fled. The killer was pursued by residents for about 12 miles at speeds of up to 95 mph before he crashed his vehicle. Sheriff Tackitt said Kelley died from a self-inflicted gunshot.
Martin described the tragedy as possibly arising from a "domestic situation" involving the shooter's mother-in-law, a congregant at the church. He said the in-laws were not present at the time of the massacre, but came to the church after hearing about the shooting.
Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told USA TODAY that Kelley served in the 49th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Holloman Air Force Base in southern New Mexico from 2010 until he was discharged.
Kelley was court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his spouse and their child. He received a bad-conduct discharge, was confined for 12 months and busted to the grade of E-1. He was discharged in 2014.
Who are the victims?
Annabelle Renee Pomeroy, the 14-year-old daughter of the church's pastor, Frank Pomeroy, was one of the victims. She was remembered as "a beautiful child" by Pomeroy. He his wife were out of town when the rampage took place.
Also among those killed: Eight members of one family spanning three generations — including a mother who was eight months pregnant — and a visiting pastor who was about to address the church.
What leaders are saying
President Trump tweeted from Japan: "May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan."
Trump has been briefed several times about the tragic shooting and continues to receive regular updates, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. Trump also spoke with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, she said.
In a news conference with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, Trump said Monday that better mental health care — not gun control — is the key to understanding the mass shooting. "This isn't a guns situation,” he said.
Multiple fatalities in Texas church shooting
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, tweeted that he spoke with to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott about the "horrific shooting," and that state and federal law enforcement were working closely. "Prayers for all harmed. Truly evil," Cruz said.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., tweeted that prayers are not enough. "After another unspeakable tragedy, Congress must act — or be complicit," he said. Connecticut is where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
Contributing: Kevin Johnson, John Bacon, Mary Bowerman