47063
48365

World  

'Defenceless people'

UPDATE 10:20 a.m.

The gunman who opened fire in a small Texas church, killing 26 people during worship services, sent threatening text messages to his mother-in-law before the attack, which appeared to stem from a domestic situation, authorities said Monday.

Investigators have concluded that the deadliest mass shooting in state history was not racially or religiously motivated, Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director Freeman Martin said.

Based on evidence at the scene, they believe that Devin Patrick Kelley died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he was chased by armed bystanders and crashed his car.

The 26-year-old shooter also used his cellphone to tell his father that he had been shot and did not think he would survive, authorities said.

The gunman's family relationships were uncertain. The sheriff said the shooter's former in-laws sometimes attended services at the church but were not there on Sunday. Martin said the text messages were sent to the gunman's mother-in-law, who attended the church. It was unclear if they were referring to the same people.


ORIGINAL 7:20 a.m.

A gunman dressed in black tactical-style gear and armed with an assault rifle opened fire inside a small South Texas church, killing 26 people in an attack that claimed tight-knit neighbours and multiple family members ranging in age from 5 to 72 years old.

Once the shooting started Sunday at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a town of about 400 people, there was likely "no way" for congregants to escape, said Wilson County Sheriff Joe D. Tackitt Jr. Officials said about 20 others were wounded.

"He just walked down the centre aisle, turned around and my understanding was shooting on his way back out," said Tackitt, who said the gunman also carried a handgun but that he didn't know if it was fired. Tackitt described the scene as "terrible."

"It's unbelievable to see children, men and women, laying there. Defenceless people," he said.

Tackitt told CNN on Monday morning that the gunman's former in-laws attended services at the church "from time to time" but weren't in attendance Sunday.

Texas officials confirmed the suspect as Devin Patrick Kelley, 26. They said he lived in New Braunfels, which is about 35 miles north of the Sutherland Springs church. Sutherland Springs

A U.S. official told The Associated Press that Kelley didn't appear to be linked to organized terrorist groups. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to discuss the investigation.

Investigators were looking at social media posts Kelley made in the days before the attack, including one that appeared to show an AR-15 semi-automatic weapon.

Kelley received a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force for assaulting his spouse and child, and was sentenced to 12 months' confinement after a 2012 court-martial. Kelley served in Logistics Readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his 2014 discharge, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said.

At the news conference, the attacker was described only as a white man in his 20s who was wearing black tactical gear and a ballistic vest when he pulled into a gas station across from the church, about 30 miles (48.28 kilometres) southeast of San Antonio, around 11:20 a.m.

The gunman crossed the street and started firing the rifle at the church, said Freeman Martin, a regional director of the Texas Department of Safety, then continued firing after entering the white wood-frame building, where an 11 a.m. service was scheduled.

As he left, the shooter was confronted by an armed resident who "grabbed his rifle and engaged that suspect," Martin said. A short time later, the suspect was found dead in his vehicle at the county line.



More World News

World
48003
London Webcam
Webcam provided by webcams.travel
46573
Recent Trending
47839
Castanet Proud Member of RTNDA Canada
48116



48366