At least 26 people were killed in a gun battle Sunday at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Governor Greg Abbott told a news conference. Many more were injured, according to the authorities.
The attacker was killed after a brief chase by neighboring Guadalupe County, according to Robert Murphy, a spokesman for the Guadalupe County sheriff's office. It is not clear if he was killed by the police or if he took his own life, Murphy said.
The attacker and his rifle
The shooter has been identified as Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, according to two police sources who were informed of the investigation.
The gunman used a Ruger-AR556 rifle and additional firearms were found in his vehicle, a police officer reported on the CNN investigation.
Kelley was a member of the US Air Force and served at Holloman Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his discharge from service, according to Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek. The Air Force did not provide a date or condition for the casualty.
Devin Kelley purchased the Ruger-AR556 rifle in April 2016 from an Academy Sports & Outdoors store in San Antonio, Texas, CNN learned through a source.
When Kelley filled out the background checks in the store, he checked the box to indicate he had no disqualifying criminal record, the official said.
Kelley listed an address in Colorado Springs, Colorado, when she bought the rifle, the official said.
The FBI went to the shooting site, according to Michelle Lee, a spokeswoman for the FBI office in San Antonio.
Local police also went to the site of the incident, which occurred at First Baptist Church, a witness told CNN. The witness, who is a cashier at a service station located in front of the church, said she heard at least 20 shots in rapid succession while the service was being performed in the church, around 11:30 a.m. local time.
Sutherland Springs is located about 50 kilometers from San Antonio. The incident occurred around 11:30 am just during the religious service.
The victims are between 5 and 72 years old.
It is the worst shooting in the history of Texas, and the fifth deadliest in the modern history of the United States.
Albert Gamez Jr., Wilson County Commissioner, told CNN that several people were killed and many more were injured in Sunday's shooting.
"My heart is broken," Gamez said. "We never think where it can happen, and it does happen, it does not matter where you are, in a small community, really quiet and quiet, and look at this, what can happen”.
A security source told CNN that a man entered the church and started shooting around 11:30 a.m. local time.
The Connally Memorial Medical Center in Floresville is treating patients from the shooting in a church in Sutherland Springs, according to hospital spokeswoman Megan Posey.
Sherry Pomeroy, wife of Frank Pomeroy, pastor of the church, told CNN that her 14-year-old daughter was among the dead. Pomeroy said that neither she nor her husband were in the church when the shooting occurred.
"Our prayers are with everyone who was harmed by this act of evil," Texas Governor Greg Abbot said in a tweet on Sunday. "Our thanks to law enforcement for the response."
Trump: It's an act of evil... horrible. On tour in Asia, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, reacted to the incident in the Texas church.
In a press conference he called it an "act of evil" and a "horrible" fact.
"This act of evil happened while the victims and their families were in their place of sacred prayer. We can not put into words the pain we all feel and we can not begin to imagine the suffering of those who lost those they love, "Trump said.
Trump said his "prayers and thoughts" are with the victims and their families, but he did not suggest plans to take legislative action or push policies to deal with the shooting.
Trump said that in "times like these" "Americans do what they do best".
"We unite, we join hands, arms and through tears and pain we stay strong, very strong," he said.
Trump promised that his government will give "full support to the great state of Texas and all local authorities investigating this horrible crime."
"May God be with the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas The FBI and law enforcement are on the scene, I am monitoring the situation from Japan," he said earlier on Twitter.
Trump spoke with Governor Abbott and has received several reports about the shooting.
The White House says there are no plans to shorten the president's trip to Asia due to the shooting in Texas.