Shooting in Texas Leaves 26 Dead

Article credited to U.S. News & World Reports:

Shooting in Texas Leaves 26 Dead

The gunman, a troubled Air Force veteran, was found dead not far from the shooting in a rural town near San Antonio.

By Alexa Lardieri, Staff Writer

Shooting in Texas Leaves 26 Dead
First responders work at the rear of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in response to a fatal shooting, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

A gunman killed 26 people during a Sunday service at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. (Darren Abate/AP)

In the nation’s latest mass shooting a gunman with a high-powered assault rifle walked inside a small-town Texas church during Sunday morning worship services, killing 26 people and wounding 20 others before racing from the scene in his truck, according to CNN.

The shooter, identified by law enforcement officials as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, was found dead in his truck following a brief car chase, CNN reported. Authorities say it’s the largest mass shooting in state history.

Eight members of the same family were killed, including a five-months-pregnant woman and three of her children. The 26 fatalities range in age from 5 to 72 years old and include the pastor of First Baptist Church’s 14-year-old daughter, according to Sherri Pomeroy, the girl’s mother, CNN reported.

The horrific shooting unfolded in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a town of about 2,500 about 30 miles east of San Antonio. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, called the incident “the largest mass shooting” in the state’s history and ordered government flags to fly at half-staff Monday, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

Authorities say Kelley came into the church dressed in black tactical gear, and began opening fire with an assault rifle. When he exited the church an armed citizen who lived across the street grabbed his own rifle and confronted Kelley, said Freeman Martin, the regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Authorities chased Kelley, but the pursuit ended when the suspect veered off the road and was found dead in his car. It was unclear whether Kelly died from from a self-inflicted gunshot wound or if he was shot by the armed citizen.

Little is known about Kelley’s background, although early reports noted he served in the Air Force from 2010 to 2014 when he was discharged for disorderly conduct. He was court marshalled in 2012 for assault on his wife and assault on his child.

Authorities say Kelley bought the rifle he used in the shooting, a Ruger-AR556, from an Academy Sports & Outdoors store in San Antonio. Although his court-martial would have prevented him from the purchase, Kelley checked a box on the background-check paperwork to indicate he didn’t have a disqualifying criminal history, a law enforcement official told CNN. He listed an address in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

President Donald Trump, speaking from Japan said the shooting was an example of a “mental health problem,” not a gun-control problem. Trump called the attack “an act of evil” and said “our hearts are broken.”

Devin Kelley, 26, identified as suspect in Texas church shooting