A man opened fire inside of the church in the small South Texas community on Sunday, killing at least 26 people.
The massacre of more than two dozen churchgoers — the youngest of whom was just 18 months old — occurred amid an ongoing “domestic situation” involving the gunman and his relatives, some of whom had attended the church, law enforcement officials said Monday.
A U.S. Air Force veteran who fatally shot at least 26 people in a rural Texas church during Sunday services took his own life after a shootout with residents, the local sheriff said Monday. The gunman, who had been thrown out of the military for assaulting his wife and child, wounded at least 20 others during the rampage in the white-steepled First Baptist Church in the small town of Sutherland Springs.
After the gunman, dressed in black tactical gear and firing an assault rifle, left the church, two armed local residents pursued him in vehicles. The chase ended when the gunman crashed his car and then shot himself, Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt told CBS News in an interview on Monday morning.
“At this time we believe that he had a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Tackitt said. The suspect was identified him as Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, multiple media reported, citing law enforcement officials.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott told CBS News the attack on the church in Sutherland Springs, a community of fewer than 400 people, located about 40 miles (65 km) east of San Antonio, did not appear to be a “random act.”
It was the latest in a long string of U.S. mass shootings in recent years, coming weeks after a gunman killed 58 people in Las Vegas in the deadliest shooting by a sole gunman in U.S. history.