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Texas church massacre

UPDATE: 3:55 p.m.

Governor says 26 people were killed in attack on Texas church in the deadliest mass shooting in the state's history.


UPDATE: 2:35 p.m.

A man opened fire inside of a church in a small South Texas community on Sunday, killing more than 20 people and wounding at least 10 others before being killed or killing himself, authorities said.

The exact number of victims in the attack at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs wasn't immediately known. But a law enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press that more than 20 people were killed and between 10 and 15 others were wounded, though the official stressed that the investigation was in its early stages and the figures could change.

The official said the gunman fled in a vehicle after the attack and was killed, either by a self-inflicted wound or during a confrontation with police. The official was not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation and spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity.

Federal law enforcement swarmed the small community 30 miles southeast of San Antonio after the attack to offer assistance, including ATF investigators and members of the FBI's evidence collection team.

Among those killed was the 14-year-old daughter of the church's pastor and his wife. Sherri Pomeroy said in a text message to the AP that she and her husband were out of town when the attack occurred, but they lost their daughter "and many friends."  

The wounded were taken to hospitals. Video on KSAT television showed first responders taking a stretcher from the church to a waiting AirLife helicopter. Some victims were taken by medical helicopter to the Brooke Army Medical Center, the station said.

Megan Posey, a spokeswoman for Connally Memorial Medical Center, which is in Floresville and about 10 miles from the church, said "multiple" victims were being treated for gunshot wounds. She declined to give a specific number but said it was less than a dozen.

A woman who lives in Floresville and was monitoring the chaos on a police scanner and in Facebook community groups, said everyone knows everyone in the sparsely populated county.

"This is horrific for our tiny little tight-knit town," said Alena Berlanga. "Everybody's going to be affected and everybody knows someone who's affected," she said.

President Donald Trump tweeted from Japan, where he is on an Asian trip, that he was monitoring the situation following the shooting. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the shooting an "evil act," and promised "more details" from the state's Department of Public Safety soon.

Sutherland Springs is in a rural corner of South Texas where communities are small and tight-knit. The area is known for its annual peanut festival in nearby Floresville, which was most recently held last month.


UPDATE: 1:50 p.m.

Officials tell The Associated Press more than 20 people were killed in the Texas church attack.


UPDATE: 12:30 p.m.

A County Commissioner in Texas says he's been told that more than 20 people were killed and more than 20 were wounded in an attack at a church, though he says those figures haven't been confirmed.

Albert Gamez, a Wilson County commissioner, made the comments to cable news outlets after the attack Sunday at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, a small community 30 miles southeast of San Antonio.

A sheriff says that a man walked into the church and started firing. Authorities say the attacker was later killed.


UPDATE: 12 p.m.

A man opened fire inside of a church in a small South Texas community on Sunday, killing multiple people and wounding others before being "taken down," authorities said.

The Wilson County News quoted Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackett on the casualties and that the shooter was now dead.

It was not immediately clear if the church was holding services at the time of the shooting.

A sheriff's department dispatcher said everyone was at the scene and unavailable to comment.

KSAT showed video of several fire and police vehicles at the church and a photo of a helicopter arriving to transport victims to hospitals.

Sutherland Springs is 30 miles (48 kilometres) southeast of San Antonio.


ORIGINAL STORY 11:30 a.m.

Local U.S. news outlets report that several people have been shot at a Baptist church in South Texas.

Television stations KSAT and KENS report that there are multiple victims and that there is a large police presence at the church in Sutherland Springs, which is 30 miles (48 kilometres) southeast of San Antonio.

KSAT reports that two Airlife helicopters are also at the scene.

A sheriff's department dispatcher says everyone is at the scene and unavailable to comment.

KSAT has video of several fire and police vehicles at the church and a photo of a helicopter that the station says was arriving to take victims to hospitals.



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