HOUSTON — Some 26 people were shot dead after a gunman opened fire at a church during services in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Governor Greg Abbott said on Sunday.
Abbott said the shooting attack in the church was the deadliest mass shooting in the state’s history.
Officials said that the victims ranged in age from 5 to 72 years old.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told local media that a man walked into the church around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday and opened fire at the crowd of people.
Officials have identified the shooter as Devin Kelly, 26. Texas shooter had assault rifle, wore ballistic vest, according to local media reports.
According to Wilson County Commissioner Larry Wiley, the gunman was killed roughly nine km away in Guadalupe County after being cornered by deputies.
At least eight injured are being treated at University Hospital in San Antonio, Spokeswoman Leni Kirkman said, adding the hospital may receive more patients.
The Wilson County News earlier quoted Sheriff Joe Tackitt as reporting that there have been “multiple casualties and fatalities.”
Governor Abbott released the statement on the shooting. “While the details of this horrific act are still under investigation, Cecilia and I want to send our sincerest thoughts and prayers to all those who have been affected by this evil act. 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 shooting happened at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, approximately 35 km southeast of San Antonio.
US President Donald Trump tweeted “May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.”
Sutherland Springs is an unincorporated community located on the old Spanish land grant of Manuel Tarin in northern Wilson County. According to the Handbook of Texas, the population was 362 in 2000. Xinhua-northboundasia.com