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Texas Church Shooting Leaves 26 Dead; Suspect Was Dishonorably Discharged From Air Force

Police say the suspect is dead, and that children were reportedly among the victims.

Crime/Police State

Texas Church Shooting Leaves 26 Dead; Suspect Was Dishonorably Discharged From Air Force


Update (8:50 pm ET): Trump offered his condolences for victims and their families after the “horrific” shooting in Texas during a press conference in Japan.

“Victims and their families were in their sacred place of worship. We cannot put into words the pain and grief we all feel,” Mr. Trump said in televised remarks.

“In dark times such as these, Americans do we what do best and we pull together. We lock hands and we joins arms. Through the tears and through the sadness we stand strong.”

Meanwhile, a new photo of the shooter has been released…

Update (8:00 pm ET): A candlelit vigil is being held to remember the victims of today’s shooting…

Meanwhile, the citizen who intervened to stop the shooter has been described as a neighbor who lived near the church…


* * *

Update (7:20 pm ET): The New York Times has published a list of notable mass shootings that have taken place at churches in the US in recent years. They include:

Sept. 24, 2017, Antioch Tenn.: A gunman carrying two pistols opened fire as Sunday services were ending at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, killing one person and wounding seven others; he also pistol-whipped a church usher who confronted him. The gunman, identified as Emanuel K. Samson, shot and wounded himself, the police said; he was taken into custody.

June 17, 2015, Charleston, S.C.: Nine people who had gathered for Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a landmark black church in Charleston, were shot and killed at the landmark black church in Charleston by a white gunman, identified by the police as Dylann Storm Roof, who was arrested the next day. A 10th person was wounded. The dead included the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, the church’s pastor and a prominent state senator.

May 31, 2009, Wichita, Kan.: A gunman shot and killed an usher in the foyer of the Reformation Lutheran Church as he handed out church bulletins after services. The usher was Dr. George Tiller, one of the few doctors in the country who performed late-term abortions. The assailant, Scott Philip Roeder, an anti-abortion activist, fled the scene and was arrested three hours later; he was convicted of murder in 2010 and sentenced to life in prison.

Dec. 9, 2007, Colorado.: A gunman shot two people at the Youth With a Mission Center at Arvada, near Denver, and then killed five people 12 hours later at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, before he was shot by a volunteer security guard, the police said. The gunman, identified as Matthew Murray, died at the scene of the second shooting. The police said he was carrying two assault rifles, three handguns and 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

* * *

Update (6:50 pm ET): The press conference in Stockdale, Texas has begun. Before it started, Gov. Greg Abbott reportedly confirmed that 26 people were killed in the shooting. Police say they don’t have names of any of the victims.

The local district attorney said the state’s “number one priority and goal is to the victims and their families right now.”

“We have to make sure that that crime scene is handled appropriately, it takes time. Unfortunately that means victims’ families are looking for more information than we have right now.

Another official said police have not yet determined a motive.

At approximately 11:20 the suspect was seen at a Valero gas station wearing all black. Shortly after, he entered the church and started firing. As he exited the church, a local resident grabbed his rifle and wrestled it away from him, causing him to flee on foot. The individual then gave chase. Police don’t know if the resident shot him, or if he shot himself. His car crashed, and when police found it he had died after sustaining a gunshot wound.

Total dead is 26 and another 20 people have sustained injuries ranging from minor to severe. Ages of victims range from 5 years old to 72 years of age.

The investigation will take “a significant length of time.” Multiple crime scenes are being processed still. There were people in the church who escaped, police said. Some of the victims were outside the church when they were shot.

Authorities won’t release the shooter’s name or confirm whether he was known in the community, though he has already been identified in the media as Devin Patrick Kelley. The first calls police received about the incident occurred after the suspect began firing.

* * *

Update (6:24 pm ET): One of the first responders speaking to CBS said he knew many of the victims in the church after growing up in Sutherland Springs, a small one-horse town in an extremely rural part of southeastern Texas.

“Why this church? Why people that I grew up with. Why them? I know everyone who goes to church here. I have tons of friends who had children in that church who I have no idea about. I have no idea if they’re okay. It’s very upsetting – very much.”

Meanwhile, more details about the shooter are beginning to leak out.

Kelly was a former Air Force member who received a dishonorable discharge. He was court-martialed in May 2014. He previously held the rank of E1. Officials who’ve spoken anonymously to the media said there were no signs Kelly had links to terrorist groups.

CBS is reporting that four kids from one family have been shot…

Very powerful story about how an armed neighbor who stepped up could have saved several lives. pic.twitter.com/Bc0pTyb3Fu

— Max Massey (@MaxMasseyTV) November 6, 2017

The shooting has also been confirmed as the largest in Texas state history.

* * *

Update (5:45 pm ET): The shooter who killed at least 25 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas today has been identified by the Daily Beast as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley. Kelly was a resident of New Braunfels, a suburb of San Antonio, according to public records, and was married. San Antonio police reportedly raided Kelley’s home on Sunday evening.

The gunman was killed after a chase with police, but it’s unclear if he was shot by law enforcement, or if he shot himself.

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