According to authorities, the gunman responsible for Sunday’s Texas church massacre was involved in a family dispute.
Twenty-six people were shot dead and 20 others wounded in the attack which occurred on Sunday morning at a First Baptist church located in Sutherland Springs, about 35 miles east of San Antonio
Spokesperson for the Texas department of public safety, Freeman Martin, said at a press conference on Monday that, “There was a domestic situation going on,”
According to Martin the gunman, Devin Kelley, had sent a text threatening his mother-in-law prior to the incident. She is said to have attended the church in the past but was not present on Sunday when the attack took place.
Martin said, “He expressed anger towards his mother-in-law”
“This was not racially motivated, it wasn’t over religious beliefs,” he noted
23 people are said to have died in the church while two others died outside and another died in hospital.
20 people were also wounded, amongst them; six are said to be in stable conditions four in quite serious conditions while the other 10 are in critical conditions.
Martin also added that Kelley, 26, who lived in New Braunfels, about 35 miles north of Sutherland Springs, was engaged by a civilian with an AR rifle. The armed civilian, according to Martin, chased Kelley, who was then found dead in his car
He also added that the suspect had put a call through to his father to tell him that he had been shot and did not think he was going to make it.
Martin also revealed in a subsequent briefing that results of an autopsy carried out on the suspects body found three gunshot wounds. Two of the gunshot wounds – one in the leg and in the torso – were confirmed to have come from the armed citizen, while a third in the head, is said to have been self-inflicted.
The pastor of the church, Frank Pomeroy, and his wife, Sherri who were both away when the shooting occured and also lost their 14 year old daughter to the unfortunate incident, addressed reporters on Monday, saying;
“You lean in to what you don’t understand, you lean in to the Lord,” Frank Pomeroy said. “I don’t understand but I know my God does.”
He further said, “We lost more than Belle yesterday and one thing that gives me a sliver of encouragement is the fact that Belle was surrounded yesterday by her church family that she loved fiercely and vice-versa
“Our church was not comprised of members or parishioners. We were a very close family, we ate together, we laughed together, we cried together and we worshipped together. Now most of our church family is gone, our building is probably beyond repair and the few of us that are left behind lost tragically yesterday.”