Texas—At least 26 persons were killed when a gunman opened fire at a Church of Texas during Sunday services, police confirmed. The shooting happened at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, which is a small city in Wilson County, Texas.
The gunman also reportedly has been killed after as he entered the church and opened fire at around 11:30 local time (17:30 GMT). Governor Greg Abbott said that the killing and said it was the worst mass shooting in the history of Texas City.
“This will be a long, suffering mourning for those in pain,” he said at a news conference on Sunday, bbc reports. Texas Department of Public Safety regional director Freeman Martin said the ages of the victims ranged from 5 to 72 years old. Officials said at least 22 people were also injured and taken to hospital for treatment.
Mr Martin described the suspect as a young white man in his early 20s, dressed in all black and wearing a ballistic vest as well as tactical-type gear. He was armed with an assault-style rifle. He started shooting outside the church before he going in and opened fire, Mr Martin said. A local citizen “grabbed his rifle and began shooting” at the suspect, before the gunman fled in a vehicle.
The citizen pursued the suspect, who drove off the road and crashed his car at the Guadalupe County line. Police found the suspect dead in his vehicle, but it is unclear if he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound or from returned fire from the citizen, Mr Martin added. The gunman has been identified as Devin P Kelley, 26, according to US media news reports. Police have not confirmed the suspect’s identity.