Rev. Frank Pomeroy returned to the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Monday, a little more than 24 hours after a gunman committed one of the worst acts of mass murder in United States history.
Devin Kelley, aged 26, walked into the church before noon on Sunday. Clad in black, Kelley opened fire on the congregants of the church, killing 26 and wounding abut 20 others. Among the dead was Rev. Pomeroy’s 14-year-old daughter Annabelle.
Rev. Pomeroy, who had been traveling with his wife Sherri on Sunday and was not present for the shooting, tried to make sense of the madness.
“I don’t understand,” Rev. Pomeroy told reporters when asked to make sense of the tragedy, “but I know my God does.”
Sherri Pomeroy read a statement to the media which asked for their respect and privacy during this terrible time. Mrs. Pomeroy also described the bond that the close-knit church members shared with one another.
“We were a very close family,” she told reporters. “We ate together. We laughed together. We cried together. And we worshiped together. Now, most of our church family is gone. Our building is probably beyond repair. And the few of us left behind lost tragically yesterday.”
Elsewhere around Sutherland Springs, the community mourned the devastating loss of its brothers and sisters, including Annabelle.
“She was just an innocent little girl,” family friend Jason Mckey told KHOU. “I mean, [she was] more innocent than most, and she died for her faith.”
“She would sit Indian-style with her elbows on her knees, and she would put her hands on her face, and she would just look up at me, and she’d just listen to everything I said.,” Mckey explained to KHOU.
“I’m having a real hard time trying to communicate what I feel.”