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The attacker opened fire against the congregation of a evangelical church in the small comunity of Sutherland Springs. Several children among the victims of “evil act”, the deadliest church shooting in US history.
A young white man killed 26 people in an attack against an evangelical church in Sutherland Springs (Texas).
The First Baptist Church of this small community were celebrating the Sunday morning worhsip service when the gunman entered the building at around 11:20am (local time).
He shot against the congregation killing children. The youngest victim was 18 months old, and the oldest 77 years old. The pastors of the congregation where out of town, but their 14-year-old daughter is among the killed.
About 20 more are wounded and brought to medical centres in the region.
A pastor of a nearby evangelical church told CBS News he knew all members of the attacked church. He was preaching when phone calls alerted the congregation about the attack.
The Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, gave more details in a press conference. It is the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the state. After the first informations were known, Abbott tweeted:
Our prayers are with all who were harmed by this evil act. Our thanks to law enforcement for their response. More details from DPS soon. https://t.co/KMCRmOPkiM
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) 5 de novembre de 2017
Officials have identified the attacker as Devin Kelley, a white 26-year-old man. He was wearing all black and a ballistic vest when he entered the church building with his gun. No links with extremist groups have been confirmed so far but he had been . He was killed when a neighbour used his own gun and took him down.
Prayers were held as relatives and neighbours learn about what had happened. Helipcopters and the FBI arrived on the site in the first hours.
Families in tears wait to see if their family and friends are safe. Praying for the safety of all those involved. pic.twitter.com/yjzK7lZJ1S
— Max Massey (@MaxMasseyTV) 5 de novembre de 2017
Later in the evening, about 100 people gathered for a prayer vigil near the Baptist church. Friends, neighbours were joined by Governor Abbott.
Sutherland Springs is a small town of about 600 inhabitants in the south east of city San Antonio.
From TPR's David Martin Davies: A prayer vigil is held in Sutherland Springs, TX where at least 26 people were killed in a church shooting. pic.twitter.com/iXL0gqzptl
— Joey Palacios (@Joeycules) 6 de novembre de 2017
US President Donald Trump reacted to the mass shooting from Japan: "Victims and their families were in their sacred place of worship. We cannot put into words the pain and grief we all feel".
He added: "In dark times such as these, Americans do we what do best and we pull together. We lock hands and we joins arms. Through the tears and through the sadness we stand strong". Trump also said: "All of America is praying to God".
SOUTHERN BAPTIST CHURCHES REACT
“Violence and evil once again have made an impact at one of our churches,” stated Frank Page, president and CEO of the SOuthern Baptist Churches Executive Committee, US magazine Christianity Today reported.
“Innocent men, women, boys, and girls went to church to worship, pray, and study God’s word, and were met with unspeakable violence”. “Our prayers are for the people of Sutherland Springs and the people of the church”, he continued.
Ronny Floyd, head of the National Day of Prayer, also a Southern Baptist, added: “We must beg God for his mighty hand of protection on our nation and the world. May God be with the victims of this shooting. Only God is our refuge in these times of trouble”.”
Baptist churches have suffered 345 deadly incidents since 1999, according to Christianity Today.