While details still remain sketchy, from multiple reports, it’s obvious that a lone gunman murdered two dozen or more people in the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas earlier today. Various media outlets are quoting the number of dead anywhere from 20 to 27 with many more wounded.
According to the LA Times:
Law enforcement officials are still processing the scene of the shooting, but county commissioners have been told that more than 20 people were killed at the First Baptist Church on Sunday, County Commissioner Ernest “Skip” Hajek said in a telephone interview with the Los Angeles Times
Sheriff Joe Tackitt is reporting that the shooter has been “taken down,” the local Wilson County News reported.
“The details of this horrific act are still under investigation,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. “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.”
The New York Times reported that,
Albert Gamez Jr., another Wilson County commissioner, told CNN that he was told by the police that the gunman was chased into the next county and was killed, but it was not clear whether the police shot him or he killed himself.
Mr. Gamez said he was told by an emergency medical technician that 27 people were dead and 24 others were injured.
He said the victims were still inside the church. Sutherland Springs is a small community where everyone knows one another, he said.
The shooter, who had left the scene, is reported dead. Whether he killed himself or was shot by law enforcement still isn’t yet clear.
A so-far unconfirmed report identifies the murderer as Chris Ward and claims that he killed his family before opening fire on the churchgoers.
Again, as in all of these situations, “facts” tend to change. Sometimes significantly. Watch this space.
UPDATE: The earlier report of the shooter’s name was incorrect. The shooter has since been identified as Devin Patrick Kelley of nearby Comal County.