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Texas shootingAt least 26 dead after worst mass shooting in Texas history at San Antonio-area church

By Neena Satija, Jolie McCullough, and Abby Livingston

Published 6 November 2017

A lone gunman killed at least 26 people and injured many more at a church in Sutherland Springs. The tiny town was left reeling from the deadliest shooting at a place of worship in American history. The victims ranged in age from 5 to 72. The gunman has since been identified as 26-year old Devin Patrick Kelley. Kelley served in the Air Force and was court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his spouse and their child. He received a bad conduct discharge, 12 months’ confinement, and a reduction in rank.

Morning services at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, a tiny town about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio, became the mortifying scene of mass death Sunday after a lone gunman killed at least 26 people and injured many more in the deadliest shooting at a place of worship in American history.

The number of casualties, which could rise, also made the shooting the deadliest ever in Texas.

“Everything you see here is what I see happening in other states, but I never thought it’d be this close to home,” said Rita Serna.

The 50-year-old woman, who lives 20 miles away, attended First Baptist Church her entire childhood. She was among about 100 people at a vigil for the victims Sunday night. Members of the devastated church did not attend the gathering, but scores of other people and Gov. Greg Abbott came out under a deep orange moon to support First Baptist’s congregants.

Abbott traveled to the area hours after the shooting.

This will be a long, suffering mourning for those in pain. These people were innocently gunned down,” Abbott said earlier Sunday at a news conference in the nearby town of Stockdale. 

Officials at the news conference said that 20 more people were wounded, with injuries ranging from “minor” to “very severe.” The victims ranged in age from 5 to 72.

Police did not name the gunman [the gunman has since been identified as 26-year old Devin Patrick Kelley], who is also dead, and they declined to name any of the fatalities as they worked to verify the identities of more than two dozen people slain.

Law enforcement said it was too early to speculate on a motive for the killings that left the town — and the country — reeling. Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, who represents the area, told The Texas Tribune on Sunday evening that the victims include the 14-year-old daughter of the church’s pastor, as well as a pregnant woman. He also said the shooter was Devin Kelley, who was from Comal County, about 50 miles north of Sutherland Springs.

The Associated Press late Sunday reported that Kelley served in the Air Force and was court-martialed in 2012 “on one count of assault on his spouse and another count of assault on their child.” Citing an Air Force spokesperson, the news agency said, “he received a bad conduct discharge, 12 months’ confinement and a reduction in rank.”