USA. A gunman dressed all in black, and wearing a tactical gear including a bullet-proof vest, walked into a local church in Texas on Sunday and opened fire as the congregation were involved in weekly service – leaving at least 26 dead and about 20 others injured, authorities said.
Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott through an evening press conference confirmed the death toll at First Baptist Church, calling it “the largest mass shooting in the state’s history.”
Police said the alleged shooter, a 26-year-old man, was also dead after the massacre, bringing the total number of fatalities to 27. The death toll could increase given the number of injured, sources reveal.
About the shooting:
The attack began at about 11:20 a.m., after a suspect was seen at a Valero gas station in Sutherland Springs, dressed in all black, the Department of Public Safety said, according to ABC News. The suspect crossed the street to the church, got out of his vehicle and began firing at the church, authorities said.
The suspect then moved to the right side of the church and continued to fire, before entering the church and shooting more, authorities said.
As the suspect exited the church, a local resident grabbed his rifle and engaged the suspect, after which he dropped his assault-type rifle and fled, authorities said, according to ABC News.
A citizen pursued the suspect, who fled in a car, crashed and was later found dead in his vehicle in Guadalupe County, according to the sheriff and the Department of Public Safety.
It’s unclear whether he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound or whether he was shot by another person, officials said.
President Trump reacted to the news from Japan via satellite saying: “This horrible act of evil occurred as the victims and their families were in their place of sacred worship. We cannot put into words the pain and grief we all feel, and we cannot begin to imagine the suffering of those who lost the ones they loved. Our hearts are broken.”
“My Administration is providing its full support to the state and local authorities investigating this horrible crime. I have spoken with Governor Abbott, and we offer our thanks to the first responders who ultimately stopped the suspect and rendered immediate and lifesaving aid to the victims of this shooting. I will continue to follow developments closely,” Trump assured.
People across the country are posting prayer and comments of sympathy at the church’s Facebook page.