At Least 20 Dead, Dozens Wounded in Texas Church Shooting

More than 20 people were killed Sunday when a gunman opened fire in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. At least another 20 were wounded, according to initial reports.

KSAT reporter Max Massey tweeted that “Neighbors say they heard shooter may have reloaded multiple times, around 50 people usually at service.”

“At least 6 helicopters called to transport victims,” he tweeted.

Devin Keen, a constable in Wilson County, said “there were kids involved” in the shooting, The New York Times reported.

A lone shooter entered the First Baptist Church at about 11:30 a.m. local time and began firing, Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez Jr. said.

No motive for the shooting was known.

Gamez said first responders told him about 27 people were killed and 24 wounded.

“My heart is broken,” Gamez said. “We never think where it can happen, and it does happen. It doesn’t matter where you’re at. In a small community, real quiet and everything, and look at this, what can happen.”

Wilson County Commissioner Larry Wiley said he was told between 20 and 24 people are dead, and around 20 were wounded.

“It is horrible,” Wiley said. “It appears someone walked in and started shooting.”

Wiley added that he was told that children were among those killed.

The shooter was killed after a brief chase north into neighboring Guadalupe County, Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Robert Murphy told CNN. The chase lasted for about five miles.

Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt said that the shooter “had been taken down,” according to The Associated Press, which cited the Wilson County News.

No other information about the shooter was released.

The shooting was reported to police after a witness in a gas station near the church reported hearing about 20 shots fired.

Carrie Matula, who works at a gas station about 150 yards away from the church, told NBC she heard “semiautomatic gunfire.”

“It’s a small Baptist church. It’s an older building. I don’t know that they would have security cameras or anything high tech like that. And I know they didn’t have security in the parking lot,” she said.

“I never thought it would happen here,” she said. “This is something that happens in a big city. I would never have thought this would have taken place here. It’s just too tight a community. It doesn’t make sense.”

Paul Buford, pastor of nearby River Oaks Church, told USAToday that his service was under way when first responders in his congregation were called to the scene.

“We are pulling together as a community,” Buford said. “We are holding up as best we can.”

“There are a number of individuals just weeping and just wanted to know what’s happened to their loved ones,” said Joseph Silva, 49, who lives near Sutherland Springs. “Everybody is pretty grief-stricken. Everyone’s worried.”

Twitter was flooded with reactions.

“May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas,” President Donald Trump tweeted from Japan. “The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.

“Our prayers are with all who were harmed by this evil act. Our thanks to law enforcement for their response,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted.

Sutherland Springs is about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio.

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