On Sunday afternoon in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Devin Kelley of New Braunfels, Texas opened fire on the congregation of the First Baptist Church, killing nearly thirty people. The death toll, which includes young children and elderly men and women, is expected to rise. The assailant was later killed after a stand-off with police. It isn’t clear if he was killed by law enforcement or took his own life.
Shortly after the news of the mass shooting began to populate across social media, people began to speculate whether the shooting was recorded. The YouTube page for The First Baptist Church shows that church leaders documented each Sunday’s service. The last video uploaded on the page was recorded one week before the shooting. During the service, Pastor Frank Pomeroy implored his congregation that they should always be ready to profess their love of God.
“Profess that with your mouth, believe that with your heart, and so shall you be saved,” Pastor Frank Pomeroy told the congregation.
Nearly every video on the page begins with as the congregants of the church file into their seats. They are seen greeting their neighbors and exchanging pleasantries as they prepare to worship their faith. The services begin with songs from a group of musicians gathered on the altar. They then segue into a long sermon, usually given by Pastor Pomeroy, with some interruptions for more music. The services end with salutations and church announcements.
According to eyewitnesses, Kelley entered the church wearing full combat gear. He allegedly fired nearly 100 shots. More than 20 people have been confirmed deceased, and another 20 sustained injuries, according to the Austin American Statesmen.
An eyewitness to the shooting told the Statesmen that the community believes they know who did it.
“We do know some of the people who were killed,” Carrie Matula told the paper.
“We have an idea of who did this. We don’t know why. It’s a small town. It’s going around the rumor mill.”
President Donald Trump offered his regards for the victims after hearing of the tragedy.
“May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas,” Trump tweeted from Japan. “The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.”
On Sunday evening police were searching the home of Devin Kelley of New Braunfels, Texas. One anonymous Texas congressman told NBC that authorities do not believe the man lived in the area, or that he was connected to terrorism.
The first identified victim of the shooting is allegedly the daughter of Pastor Frank Pomeroy. Pastor Pomeroy and his wife were reportedly out of town at the time of the shooting.
This is a developing story…
This story has been updated to reflect the suspect’s identity which was confirmed on Sunday night.