At 11:30 CT today (17:30GMT), a gunman opened fire in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, injuring multiple people. The number of casualties is yet unclear, as nearby hospitals are still accepting injured civilians, but at least 27 people are dead.
The attack happened during Sunday services at the First Baptist Church in a small town in Wilson County, near San Antonio. The San Antonio branch of FBI are currently at the church investigating the shooting.
The Guadalupe County Sheriff Office’s spokesman, Robert Murphy, confirmed to CNN news that the shooter is dead.
After a brief pursuit into neighbouring county Guadalupe, the shooter was killed. It is unclear whether the police have shot the culprit, or he took his own life.
The identity of the gunman is still unclear, as well as the motivation behind the shooting.
Police official Albert Gamez Jr spoke to CBS news, confirming the number of deaths:
“The details are kind of sketchy but what I know right now, what they're telling me, like 27 deceased and over 20, 25 injured," Mr Gamez Jr said. A two-year-old child was among the injuries.
Community members allegedly dropped everything and administered aid to the injured. In a small community of 700 people, they were giving medical aid to friends, family and neighbours.
CBSN affiliate Kens5 reported that there are “multiple casualties and fatalities”, with young children among them.
Family members have just been called inside the community building, where CBSN is outside reporting live.
President Donald Trump, who is in his first leg of his tour of Asia, has tweeted about “monitoring the situation” from Japan.
Senator Ted Cruz has also tweeted:
This article will be kept updated as soon as there are more developments in the ongoing investigation.
21:54 Update: Allegedly a 6-year-old boy was shot four times, and is now in surgery.
The pastor of the First Baptist church, Frank Pomeroy and his wife Sherri were out of town when the shooting occurred.
Unfortunately, Sherri Pomeroy has confirmed that their 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle is among the deceased.
23:50 - Governor Greg Abbott begins the press conference by thanking the community who came to help.
“As a state we are dealing with the largest mass shooting in our state’s history.
“We appreciate the first responders and what they’ve done by responding.”
Unfortunately, we can confirm that 26 people have died.
“We ask for gods comfort…As governor I ask for every mum and dad at home at night. Put your arm around your kid and give them a big hug and let them know how much you love them.”
Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt then addressed the media:
“Don’t blow it out there that it doesn’t happen; it does happen.”
As did District Attorney Audrey Louis: “We highly commend the professionalism that is occurring.”
DPS regional director Freeman Martin then gave the press more details about the case:
“We have certain facts that we can release to protect the integrity of the investigation. At 11:20am the suspect was at a gas station dressed all in black. He crossed to the church and exited the vehicle. He shot at the church, then moved to the right and shot at it again. He then entered and continued to fire.
“A local resident grabbed his rifle and engaged with the suspect. The suspect fled; the resident pursued.”
The suspect was ran off the road and crashed – he was found dead in his car. He was wearing a ballistic vest and had multiple weapons in his vehicle.
We can confirm that 23 people died in the church, two people died outside the church, and one person who was transported to the hospital is now deceased.
20 others are currently in hospital. Their injuries vary from minor to critical, and their ages range from five years old to 72 years old.
More information about the suspect will be coming out soon – including information on a possible raid on the suspect’s house. He has been identified as 26-year old Devin Patrick Kelley, who was a former member of the US air force.
The South Texas Blood and Tissue centre have contributed by sending blood to the hospitals for the victims of the shooting.