A gunman has opened fire at a church near San Antonio in Texas, killing at least 26 worshippers and injuring dozens more, local officials and witnesses say. The suspect, who has been identified as a 26-year-old man, was later killed.
The incident happened just before noon on Sunday when officers were called to reports of an active shooter at the small church. Sutherland Springs, which is a community in Wilson County, is about 28 miles (45 kilometers) southeast of San Antonio.
A large number of emergency services, including multiple medical helicopters, were called to the scene.
Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez, Jr. said that at least 27 people were killed, including the shooter, and dozens more have been injured, some of whom were reported to be in a critical condition. Among those killed and injured are an unknown number of children, including a toddler.
Witnesses said the gunman entered the church and opened fire at dozens of worshippers who were gathered there for a Sunday service. Pastor Frank Pomeroy, who was out of town with his wife, said their 14-year-old daughter is among those who were killed.
The shooter, who has been identified as 26-year-old Devin Kelley from New Braunfels, fled the scene in a vehicle and was pursued by local deputies. County officials said Kelley was killed during the chase, though it was not immediately clear how he died.
There was no immediate word on a possible motive, but officials said there was no indication of a link to terrorism. Kelley served in the U.S. Air Force until 2013, briefly taught at a summer Bible school, and his mother-in-law lives in Sutherland Springs, according to the Daily Beast.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is at the scene to assist.
“While the details of this horrific act are still under investigation, Cecilia and I want to send our sincerest thoughts and prayers to all those who have been affected by this evil act,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said. “I want to thank law enforcement for their response and ask that all Texans pray for the Sutherland Springs community during this time of mourning and loss.”
President Donald Trump, who is currently on a visit to Japan, said he was monitoring the situation. “May God be with the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI and law enforcement are on the scene,” he said on Twitter.
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