By Christopher Mele, The New York Times
More than 20 people were killed after a gunman walked into a church in a rural community about 30 miles east of San Antonio and opened fire on Sunday, an official said.
The official, Paul W. Pfeil, a Wilson County, Tex., commissioner, said he did not have a total count of the number of dead in the shooting, which occurred at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, but he said it was “more than 20.”
(Texas governor shares information after the largest shooting in the state’s history. Courtesy of Fox News and YouTube)
Albert Gamez Jr., another Wilson County commissioner, told CNN that he was told by the police that the gunman was chased into the next county and was killed, but it was not clear whether the police shot him or he killed himself.
Mr. Gamez said he was told by an emergency medical technician that 27 people were dead and 24 others were injured.
He said the victims were still inside the church.
Sutherland Springs is a small community where everyone knows one another, he said.
He added: “You never expect something like this. My heart is broken.”
David Keen, a constable in Wilson County, confirmed that there were casualties and said “there were kids involved.”
(At least two dozen parishioners were killed when a gunman opened fire at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. The shooter is also dead. Victims are being treated at nearby hospitals. Courtesy of CBS News and YouTube)
Sheriff Joe Tackitt of Wilson County told The Wilson County News that a man had entered the church and begun firing.
Megan Posey, a spokeswoman for Connally Memorial Medical Center in Floresville, Tex., said that she did not know exactly how many patients the hospital had received, but that it was continuing to receive more.
The hospital has activated its emergency response team, she said. Information about the conditions of patients was not immediately available.
“We’re sending more officers on the streets to help secure Connally Memorial while they’re bringing the casualties to the hospital,” Constable Keen said.
Joseph Silva, 49, who lives about five miles northeast of Sutherland Springs, said the police had instructed his family and neighbors to stay indoors.
In a phone interview on Sunday afternoon, he described Sutherland Springs as “a one-blinking-light town.”
“There is a gas station and a post office,” he said. “That’s about all there really is.”
Mr. Silva said he had been approached by a woman who said she had two loved ones at the church who were shot.
“There are a number of individuals just weeping and just wanted to know what’s happened to their loved ones,” he said.
“Everybody is pretty grief-stricken. Everyone’s worried.”
Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said on Twitter: “Our prayers are with all who were harmed by this evil act. Our thanks to law enforcement for their response.”
Ken Paxton, the attorney general of Texas, said in a statement: “The thoughts and prayers of all Texans are with the people of Sutherland Springs as tragic reports come out of First Baptist Church. My office stands ready to assist local law enforcement as needed.”
President Trump, who was in Japan on a trip to several Asian countries, offered his support.
“It is such a warm and welcoming church that is truly filled with the Holy Spirit and shows real Christian love and friendship.”