How the Texas mass shooting unfolded

texassA Sunday morning church service was cut brutally short as a man opens fire on parishioners. A man has walked into a Baptist church in small-town Texas, opened fire and killed half the congregation.

Local police say 26 people died.

About 11:30am Sunday morning (local time), a man is reported to have walked into the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas and started shooting.

An attendant at a gas station across the street said she saw churchgoers running from the building and cowering for cover.

“I yelled, ‘Get down! Get inside!’ and we all went into hiding,” she said.

The attendant said the whole incident lasted about 15 seconds.

  • Twenty-three people were found dead inside the church
  • Two victims were found outside
  • One died after being transported away from the scene.

Children are included in the dead. Police say the youngest victim was 5, the oldest was 72.

Another 20 people are being treated in San Antonio for “injuries that vary from minor to severe”.

The population of Sutherland Springs is reportedly fewer than 500 people; the number of parishioners is reported to be about 50.

That means the number of people killed in this massacre accounts for more than half the congregation, with the majority of the parishioners either killed or injured.

US media are calling this the deadliest mass killing “at a house of worship” in the country’s modern history, and the worst-ever mass shooting in Texas.

texasUS media have named the shooter as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, and a LinkedIn account that appeared to belong to him said he served in the US Air Force from 2009 to 2013.

There has been no discussion about his motive at this stage.

The FBI and the bureau within the US Department of Justice responsible for firearms have joined the investigation.

Alena Berlanga lives in Floresville and has been monitoring the chaos on a police scanner and in Facebook community groups.

“This is horrific for our tiny little tight-knit town,” she said.

“Everybody’s going to be affected and everybody knows someone who’s affected.”

Local resident April said she had attended First Baptist Church “since day dot”.

“I changed my mind to go to church today. So did my daughter, otherwise we’d be there.”

Alice told reporters at the police cordon she never expected a mass shooting in a town as small as Sutherland Springs.

“We leave our doors open, our cars are unlockedthis happens in New York, in big cities,” she said.