Updated 2017-11-06 09:41 GMT+8
– At least 26 people killed, several others injured
– Gunman identified as Devin Patrick Kelley
– Victims aged from 5 to 72
At least 26 people were killed and several others injured in a mass shooting at a church in Texas during Sunday services, Governor Greg Abbott confirmed at a press briefing.
The incident occurred at around 11:30 a.m. local time on Sunday at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, a rural community of around 400 people, 300 km west of Houston, Texas.
A man walked into the church and opened fire at the congregation with a rifle before fleeing the scene.
Who are the victims?
Sunday’s tragedy has claimed the lives of 26 people including children.
“There are 26 lives that have been lost. We don’t know if that number will rise or not, all we know is that’s too many, and this will be a long, suffering mourning for those in pain,” Abbott said.
The victims ranged in age from five to 72 as families from the local community gathered for Sunday services.
Sherri Pomeroy, wife of Pastor Frank Pomeroy, said she and her husband were out of town when the incident happened but their 14-year-old daughter and many friends are among the dead, local media reported.
Who carried out the shooting?
The shooter has been identified as 26-year-old veteran Devin Patrick Kelly, CNN reported, citing a law enforcement officer.
A man living next to the church took his own rifle and engaged Kelly, Freeman Martin from the Texas Department of Public Safety told CNN.
“The suspect dropped his rifle, which was a Ruger AR assault-type rifle, and fled from the church. Our local citizen pursued the suspect at that time,” Martin said.
Local media reported that Kelly served in the US Air Force from 2010 to 2014 before being dishonorably discharged.
The motive for the shooting has not been confirmed.
Trump: Shooting an ‘act of evil’
President Donald Trump, who is currently in Japan on a tour of Asia, called the shooting an “act of evil” during an address to business leaders at the US embassy in Tokyo.
“We pull together. We join hands, we lock arms and through the tears and through the sadness we stand strong, oh so strong,” Trump said.
The shooting, the deadliest in Texas’ modern history, comes only a month after a massive shooting incident in Las Vegas which left at least 58 people dead and over 500 others injured.