Update (8:50 pm ET): Trump offered his condolences for victims and their families after today's "horrific" shooting during a press conference in Japan.
"Victims and their families were in their sacred place of worship. We cannot put into words the pain and grief we all feel," Mr. Trump said in televised remarks.
"In dark times such as these, Americans do we what do best and we pull together. We lock hands and we joins arms. Through the tears and through the sadness we stand strong."
Meanwhile, a new photo of the shooter has been released...
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Update (8:00 pm ET): A candlelit vigil is being held to remember the victims of today's shooting...
“Today we come together to remember the fallen and we will not forget them for the rest of our life” pic.twitter.com/rkl0IqSNSP— Max Massey (@MaxMasseyTV) November 6, 2017
A candlelit vigil is now underway to remember the 26 killed and pray for dozens injured in today’s shooting. pic.twitter.com/XgxZDZC8dI— Max Massey (@MaxMasseyTV) November 6, 2017
Meanwhile, the citizen who intervened to stop the shooter has been described as a neighbor who lived near the church...
Very powerful story about how an armed neighbor who stepped up could have saved several lives. pic.twitter.com/Bc0pTyb3Fu— Max Massey (@MaxMasseyTV) November 6, 2017
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Update (7:20 pm ET): The New York Times has published a list of notable mass shootings that have taken place at churches in the US in recent years. They include:
Sept. 24, 2017, Antioch Tenn.: A gunman carrying two pistols opened fire as Sunday services were ending at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, killing one person and wounding seven others; he also pistol-whipped a church usher who confronted him. The gunman, identified as Emanuel K. Samson, shot and wounded himself, the police said; he was taken into custody.
June 17, 2015, Charleston, S.C.: Nine people who had gathered for Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a landmark black church in Charleston, were shot and killed at the landmark black church in Charleston by a white gunman, identified by the police as Dylann Storm Roof, who was arrested the next day. A 10th person was wounded. The dead included the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, the church’s pastor and a prominent state senator.
May 31, 2009, Wichita, Kan.: A gunman shot and killed an usher in the foyer of the Reformation Lutheran Church as he handed out church bulletins after services. The usher was Dr. George Tiller, one of the few doctors in the country who performed late-term abortions. The assailant, Scott Philip Roeder, an anti-abortion activist, fled the scene and was arrested three hours later; he was convicted of murder in 2010 and sentenced to life in prison.
Dec. 9, 2007, Colorado.: A gunman shot two people at the Youth With a Mission Center at Arvada, near Denver, and then killed five people 12 hours later at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, before he was shot by a volunteer security guard, the police said. The gunman, identified as Matthew Murray, died at the scene of the second shooting. The police said he was carrying two assault rifles, three handguns and 1,000 rounds of ammunition.
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Update (6:50 pm ET): The press conference in Stockdale, Texas has begun. Before it started, Gov. Greg Abbott reportedly confirmed that 26 people were killed in the shooting. Police say they don't have names of any of the victims.
The local district attorney said the state's "number one priority and goal is to the victims and their families right now."
"We have to make sure that that crime scene is handled appropriately, it takes time. Unfortunately that means victims' families are looking for more information than we have right now.
Another official said police have not yet determined a motive.
At approximately 11:20 the suspect was scene at a Valero gas station wearing all black. Shortly after, he entered the church and started firing. As he exited the church, a local resident grabbed his rifle and wrestled it away from him, causing him to flee on foot. The individual then gave chase. Police don't know if the resident shot him, or if he shot himself. His car crashed, and when police found it he had died after sustaining a gunshot wound.
Total dead is 26 and another 20 people have sustained injuries ranging from minor to severe. Ages of victims range from 5 years old to 72 years of age.
The investigation will take "a significant length of time." Multiple crime scenes are being processed still. There were people in the church who escaped, police said. Some of the victims were outside the church when they were shot.
Authorities won't release the shooter's name or confirm whether he was known in the community, though he has already been identified in the media as Devin Patrick Kelley. The first calls police received about the incident occurred after the suspect began firing.
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Update (6:24 pm ET): One of the first responders speaking to CBS said he knew many of the victims in the church after growing up in Sutherland Springs, a small one-horse town in an extremely rural part of southeastern Texas.
"Why this church? Why people that I grew up with. Why them? I know everyone who goes to church here. I have tons of friends who had children in that church who I have no idea about. I have no idea if they're okay. It's very upsetting - very much."
Meanwhile, more details about the shooter are beginning to leak out.
Kelly was a former Air Force member who received a dishonorable discharge. He was court-martialed in May 2014. He previously held the rank of E1. Officials who've spoken anonymously to the media said there were no signs Kelly had links to terrorist groups.
CBS is reporting that fgour kids from one family have been shot...
TX Church Shooting— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) November 5, 2017
4 kids from 1 family shot:
5yo boy shot 4xs, now in surgery
7yo girl shot & in surgery
8yo hid under a pew
The shooting has also been confirmed as the largest in Texas state history.
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Update (5:45 pm ET): The shooter who killed at least 25 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas today has been identified by the Daily Beast as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley. Kelly was a resident of New Braunfels, a suburb of San Antonio, according to public records, and was married. San Antonio police reportedly raided Kelley's home on Sunday evening.
The gunman was killed after a chase with police, but it's unclear if he was shot by law enforcement, or if he shot himself.
Trump has reportedly been briefed on the shooting, according to Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Trump has also spoken with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott by phone.
Reporter are waiting to be briefed by law enforcement. Here's a live feed for the press conference:
ABC News reported the shooter recently showed off an AR-15-style rifle on social media.
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Update (5:30 pm ET): According to the latest count, Police said "approximately 25 people" were killed and another 10 wounded in today's attack. Unconfirmed media reports are saying police are searching the home of the deceased gunman for explosives. The gunman's name has not been released. Police initially scheduled a press conference for 4 pm, but reporters are still waiting to learn more details.
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Update (5:00 pm ET): Rep. Vicente Gonzalez told MSNBC that today's shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas wasn't terrorism related. He added that 25 people have been confirmed dead. He said he heard reports that 24 people have been confirmed dead, while 20 people are injured. We won’t have final numbers until probably a few more hours." Media reports are now saying 25 people have been confirmed dead.
Gonzalez added that "apparently the shooter was not from the area, he was from outside of that area."
He added that, based on what he knew, he did not believe the incident was related to terrorism, but "was some kind of other incident that has to do with the church or the community."
"It's a rural community and a conservative, mostly farmers and ranchers and people who work out in the oil and gas patches," he said, adding that the community was "very tranquil and very safe."
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Update (4:30 pm ET): Democratic leaders are already pushing for Congress to reconsider gun control legislation after today's shooting...
Sen. Durbin after Texas church shooting: “America is in the grips of a gun violence crisis. Congress must act.” pic.twitter.com/mW8EgaabY9— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) November 5, 2017
Speaker Paul Ryan has offered his condolences...
Reports out of Texas are devastating. The people of Sutherland Springs need our prayers right now.— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) November 5, 2017
Meanwhile, CBS is reproting that a six-year-old boy named Rylan was shot four times and is now in surgery...
6yo boy named Rylan was shot 4 times at the church in Sutherland Springs & is now in surgery, according to his uncle who spoke to CBS News— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) November 5, 2017
Annabel Pomeroy, the 14-yer-old daughter of Church pastor Frank Pomeroy is also reportedly among the dead. Both of her parents were reportedly out of town.
Sen. Ted Cruz has also offered his condolences...
Keeping all harmed in Sutherland Springs in our prayers and grateful for our brave first responders on the scene.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 5, 2017
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Update (3:15 pm ET): While the official casualty count has not been released, preliminary estimates that there were between 20 and 30 fatalities would make today's shooting the deadliest at a US house of worship in modern American history. In addition, some two dozen people were injured.
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Update (3:30 pm ET): More details about the shooting are trickling in. A law enforcement source told CNN that a man walked into the church and began shooting about 11:30 a.m. local time. Agents from the San Antonio field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are en route to the scene, the source said. The FBI's crisis management team is already there assisting investigators.
The Connally Memorial Medical Center in nearby Floresville, Texas, is "accepting and assessing victims" from the Sutherland Springs church shooting, according to hospital spokeswoman Megan Posey. The number of victims is unknown at this time. Several small children are reportedly among the dead.
The shooter was killed after a brief chase north into neighboring Guadalupe County, according Guadalupe County Sheriff's Office spokesman Robert Murphy. It is unclear if the shooter was killed by police or took his own life, Murphy said. Witnesses say they heard about 20 shots being fired in quick succession while the church service was underway.
Sutherland Springs is in Wilson County, about 30 miles east of San Antonio.
Local media are now reporting that more than 27 people may have been killed.
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Update (3:20 pm ET): President Donald Trump, who arrived in Japan earlier today for the first leg of an 11-day Asia tour, 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."
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.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2017
New details about the police response to the shooting are starting to emerge: Police officials told the local NBC affiliate that the shooter was killed following a vehicle pursuit. US Marshalls and the ATF are also reportedly part of the response, which one source said suggests the shooter might have had warrants out for his arrest.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbot tweeted that his prayers were with the victims and that an update from the Texas Department of Public Safety would be available soon.
Our prayers are with all who were harmed by this evil act. Our thanks to law enforcement for their response. More details from DPS soon. https://t.co/KMCRmOPkiM— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) November 5, 2017
Abbott also released an official statement:
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Update: Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez Jr. spoke to NBC and said police have confirmed that a single shooter walked into the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs and opened fire. He added that, while details remain sketchy, the number of fatalities could be as high as 27.
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Update: Energy Secretary Rick Perry tweeted that he and his wife send their condolences and prayers to the victims.
Anita and I send our prayers to the victims of the shooting in Texas.— Rick Perry (@SecretaryPerry) November 5, 2017
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Update: The area surrounding the Church has been blocked off by authorities. Family members of Church congregants are waiting to learn more about their loved ones.
Area of the church is now blocked off and taped off. Family and friends still waiting to hear if their loved ones are safe. pic.twitter.com/YsKz78i3Lg— Max Massey (@MaxMasseyTV) November 5, 2017
Families in tears wait to see if their family and friends are safe. Praying for the safety of all those involved. pic.twitter.com/yjzK7lZJ1S— Max Massey (@MaxMasseyTV) November 5, 2017
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Update: NBC News now reporting that several people have been killed in today's shooting.
NBC News: Preliminary reports indicate that several people have been killed following a shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, TX.— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) November 5, 2017
The FBI is also reportedly responding to the incident. Police haven't said how many people have been shot, but the number could be more than 20. The shooter reportedly fired more than 20 rounds from a semiautomatic weapon. Witnesses say medical helicopters were called to airlift victims to safety.
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In an incident that authorities are describing as a "mass casualty situation," between 12 and 15 people have reportedly been shot at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a small community south east of San Antonio. The people were presumably attending a Sunday church service when a gunman opened fire. Few details are available. The gunman is still "active" according to the latest police reports.
Here's a live feed from the scene courtesy of KENS5.
Unconfirmed reports on social media claim that more than a dozen people have been injured during the shooting, though it is not clear yet how serious their injuries are. Kens5 Eye Witness News claims that a two-year-old is among the shooting victims. Neighbors are reporting that a gunman entered the church and opened fire before taking off in a vehicle.
PSA: Active shooter with 15 ppl down at the baptist church in Sutherland Springs down my road, be careful everybody????— MESSENGER (@SydneyMadisonM) November 5, 2017
Police say the suspect is dead, and that children were reportedly among the victims.
Multiple agencies were responding and medical helicopters were dispatched. Check back for more details.