At least 27 persons were killed and 20 left injured after a gunman opened fire outside a small Baptist church in Texas countryside on Sunday (11:20 local time). The authorities have confirmed the shooter as “heavily armed white male, in his 20’s”. The motive of attack is still to be ascertained.
Terming the attack as an ‘act of evil’, US President Donald Trump urged his countrymen to stand together in the hour of grief.
In a press conference, Freeman Martin, a spokesman with the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the deceased range in age from five to 72-year-old and also include a pregnant woman. The gunman too was found dead in his vehicle.
“Around 11:20 am, the suspect, dressed in black, approached the church and began firing an assault rifle. He then entered the church and continued firing,” Freeman Martin said adding, the suspect dropped his rifle, which was a Ruger AR assault-type rifle, and fled from the church.
Tom Vinger of the Texas Department of Public Safety said, “The shooter was later found deceased in his vehicle in Guadalupe County. The exact circumstances of the gunman’s death are still under investigation. The wounded individuals were transported to San Antonio Medical Center and University Hospital in San Antonio.”
In some reports, the US press is qouted to have identified the attacker as 26-year-old Devin P Kelly. They have attributed the information to two officials – one a US official and one in law enforcement – who were briefed on the investigation and shared information on the condition of anonymity to the US media.
Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas, who said he was briefed by law enforcement authorities, said the gunman came from Comal County, which is northeast of San Antonio.
“He went there, he walked in, started shooting people and then took off to Guadalupe County, which is northeast of Sutherland Springs,” he said.
Less than a thousand people live in this small rural town of Texas Sutherland Springs and officials believe that the number of people who are injured and killed make up about ten per cent of the entire population.
It’s the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history – and the fifth deadliest in modern US history.
“All of America is praying to God to help the wounded and the families we will never leave their side,” said the US President who has been constantly been in communication with Texas officials and other federal authorities.
(With inputs from Agencies)