At least 26 people were killed when a gunman opened fire on a church in a rural community in Texas Sunday, law enforcement officials said. The victims ranged in age from 18 months to 77 years and included at least eight members of an extended family as well as a mother and her two young daughters, family members and officials said.
The gunman, identified by authorities as 26-year-old Devin Kelley, shot churchgoers at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a small town located in Wilson County. At least 20 others were injured in the attack and taken to local hospitals. Ten were in critical condition as of Monday.
Of the 26 people who died, 23 were found dead inside the church, while two people were found outside. One person died after being transferred to a local hospital, authorities said during a press conference Sunday.
Among those killed was the 14-year-old daughter of First Baptist Church’s pastor Frank Pomeroy, according to the girl’s mother Sherri Pomeroy. The couple was out of town during the shooting.
The attack, which has become one of the most deadly mass shootings in recent U.S. history, comes just a month after a shooter opened fire on a crowd at a concert in Las Vegas, killing 58 people.
The suspected Texas gunman was chased from the scene and later found dead in his vehicle from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said Monday.
Annabelle Pomeroy, 14
Fourteen-year-old Annabelle Pomeroy was among the 26 killed in Sunday’s church attack, her father told ABC News. Frank Pomeroy is the pastor of the First Baptist Church and said he and his wife Sherri Pomeroy were out of town when the gunman opened fire on his congregation. Annabelle is his youngest daughter.
Frank Pomeroy said Annabelle “was one very beautiful, special child.”
At a news conference, Sherri Pomeroy described the church congregation as a close-knit family. “We ate together, we laughed together, we cried together, and we worshipped together. Now most of our church family is gone, our building is probably beyond repair and the few of us that are left behind lost tragically yesterday,” she said. “As senseless as this tragedy was, our sweet Belle would not have been able to deal with losing so much family.”
Annabelle’s uncle Scott Pomeroy posted a tribute to Facebook, saying “Heaven truly gained a real beautiful angel this morning along with many more.”
Crystal Holcombe, Marc Daniel Holcombe, Noah Holcombe, Karla Holcombe and Bryan Holcombe
At least eight members of an extended family were killed on Sunday. Crystal Holcombe, three of her children, and her in-laws, Karla, Marc, Noah and Bryan Holcombe, were among those killed in Sunday’s church attack.
Crystal, who was eight months pregnant, died with her unborn child and three of her children, Emily, Megan and Greg, the Washington Post reports. Her husband, John Holcombe, survived with two of her other children.
Bryan Holcombe, who was an associate pastor in the church, was walking up to the pulpit when Kelley opened fire. His parents, Joe and Claryce Holcombe, told the Post that John was killed in the shooting along with his wife Karla.
Bryan and Karla’s 26-year-old son, Marc Daniel Holcombe, was killed with his infant daughter, Noah Holcombe.
“This is unimaginable. My father was a good man, and he loved to preach. He had a good heart,” Scott Holcombe, Bryan’s son told the New York Times.
Nick Uhlig, Crystal’s cousin who was not at the church when the gunman opened fire, told the Associated Press that Bryan did prison ministry and would sing and play the ukulele for prison inmates.
Joann Ward, Brooke Ward and Emily Garza
Joann Ward and her young daughters, 5-year-old Brooke Ward and 7-year-old Emily Garza, were all killed during the church massacre, family members told the Dallas Morning News. The girls’ uncle, Michael Ward, struggled to comprehend the tragedy. “It’s unreal at first,” he told the newspaper. “The church of all places.”
Michael Ward, 31, said he carried his wounded 5-year-old nephew Ryland Ward out of the church once the bullets stopped. The boy had been shot four times, in the stomach, groin and arm, his uncle said. He is now fighting for his life at the hospital. “They got him all cut open, from the gunshots,” Michael Ward told the Morning News. “I don’t think he’s going to make it.”
Lula Woicinski White, 71
Authorities on Monday said the gunman had sent threatening text messages to his mother-in-law in the lead-up to the massacre, and that the shooting may have been motivated by a domestic dispute. Kelly’s mother-in-law did not go to the First Baptist Church on Sunday, but his wife’s grandmother, 71-year-old Lula Woicinski White, was reportedly among the victims.
Relatives describe White as a “caring person — a God-loving person” who was “best friends” with the people at her church, according to the New York Daily News. “I miss her badly already. We texted every day. We loved each other to the moon and back,” White’s sister Mary Mishler Cleburne told the newspaper.
Haley Krueger, 16
Teenager Haley Krueger was also among the victims of Sunday’s mass shooting. Charlene Marie Uhl, Krueger’s mother, told CNN her daughter had helped prepare breakfast that morning at the church.
“She was a vibrant 16-year-old that loved life,” Uhl said, adding that Krueger loved babies and had planned to become a nurse at a neonatal clinic.
Karen Marshall and R. Scott Marshall
A deeply religious couple who met while in the military were among those who died at the First Baptist Church.
R. Scott Marshall, 56, and Karen Marshall, 57, met while serving at North Carolina’s Seymour Johnson Air Force Base more than 32 years ago, R. Scott’s sister Holly Hannum told People.
“They lasted,” Hannum said. “They had kids, they traveled — they had a love that lasted over time.”
She continued: “The one thing I am holding on to is the fact that they were Christians, in the Lord’s house, worshipping him. They loved each other and died together.”
Richard Rodríguez and Theresa Rodríguez
Richard Rodríguez, 64, and his 66-year old wife Theresa Rodríguez, were “just amazing people” who enjoyed gardening and were deeply involved in their church. That is according to Richard’s daughter, Regina Amador, who spoke with People while surrounded by members of her extended family.
“We’ve just been sitting around a table, reminiscing, looking at pictures of them. I can’t believe this is happening, but it’s happening,” Amador said.
Robert Corrigan and Shani Corrigan
Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Robert Corrigan “was everything his killer was not.” So runs the headline of a tribute to the retired airman and his wife Shani Corrigan on veterans’ news site Task & Purpose.
Citing the Clare County, Michigan, director of veterans’ services, Task & Purpose reports that the Corrigans were high-school sweethearts there before Robert joined the Air Force in 1985. He served for three decades — rising up the ranks and earning the admiration of his peers — before retiring to Texas in 2015.
“Chief Corrigan was one of those few leaders who really got to know his people,” Bethany Keirans, a veteran Air Force staff sergeant, told Task & Purpose. “He’d remember exactly what his airmen and NCOs were going through; he’d stop by your unit and ask, ‘Hey, how’s it going, how’s your kid?’ He cared about our personal lives and not just our professional lives.”
The couple is survived by two sons. Both are on active-duty.
Tara McNulty, 33
Tara McNulty was a 33-year-old single mother who was remembered for how deeply she loved her children, her friends told the Washington Post. McNulty was killed in the church shooting, and her two children were wounded, according to the Austin American-Statesman. “It rips your heart out of your chest,” McNulty’s best friend Amber Maricle told the Post. “She was like my soul sister. We could literally finish each other’s sentences.”
Dennis Johnson and Sara Johnson
Dennis Johnson, 77, and Sara Johnson, 68, were killed in the church massacre. Their family confirmed their deaths to the Washington Post but declined to comment further.
This post will be updated as more victims are identified.