Eight Members Of One Family Killed In Texas Church Shooting

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SAN ANTONIO, TX (CBSMiami/CNN) – A day after the worst mass shooting in Texas history, investigators are still trying to determine a motive.

Twenty-six people, including several children, were shot and killed during Sunday services at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, located about 30 miles east of San Antonio. About 20 other people were wounded.

“It was bad. I mean, I tried to, tried to help as many people as I could, you know? And you can’t explain it. Your mind doesn’t want to grasp it, you know? The shock of it,” said Kevin Jordan.

Using a rifle the gunman, identified as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelly, shot churchgoers between the ages of 5 to 72 years old, according to Freeman Martin, a regional director with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

David Flores said that his father saw the shooter.

“My dad saw the gunman run into the church building and then he heard shots and saw people running,” said Flores. “People covered in blood and screaming. It was pandemonium everywhere.”

At least eight of the people killed were members of one family. A woman who was about five months pregnant and three of her children were killed. The pregnant woman’s brother-in-law and his young child were also killed, according to a community leader. Three other members of the same family were injured.

Among those killed was the 14-year-old daughter of the church’s pastor, according to Sherri Pomeroy, the girl’s mother. Her parents were traveling out of state when the shooting occurred.

As Kelly left the church, a local resident used their own rifle to engage him, Martin said. Kelly dropped his weapon and then fled in a Ford Explorer.

Johnnie Langendorff said he was driving to his girlfriend’s house when he saw gunfire between the shooter and the armed resident.

The resident who had a rifle “briefed me quickly on what had just happened and said we had to get him, and so that’s what I did,” Langendorff said.

They gave chase in his truck and called the police. As they sped after him, Langendorff said the shooter “eventually lost control on his own and went off into the ditch.”

“The gentleman that was with me got out and rested his rifle on my hood and kept it aimed at him [shooter], telling him to get out. There was no movement, there was none of that. I just know his brake lights were going on and off, so he might’ve been unconscious from the crash or something like that. I’m not sure,” he said.

Law enforcement later found the suspect dead of a gunshot wound inside his vehicle.

“At this time, we don’t know if it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound or if he was shot by the local resident,” Martin said.

A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation said multiple weapons were found in the shooter’s car. The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are involved in the investigation.

Hours after the shooting, residents of Sutherland Springs hugged one another, held candles and sang hymns in a candlelight vigil Sunday night.

Sutherland Springs is the kind of place where “everybody knows everybody,” said Gloria Rodriguez Ximenez, who attended the vigil.

“This is a small, Christian town, a very small community,” she said. “Everybody’s united. Everybody’s so close to everybody.”

She knows the First Baptist Church’s pastor and his family, including their daughter who died.

“I can feel the pain everybody’s going through. There’s so much hurt for a small town,” Ximenez said.

Others echoed the feeling of shock and heartache.

“My heart is broken,” said Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez Jr. “We never think where it can happen, and it does happen. It doesn’t matter where you’re at. In a small community, real quiet and everything, and look at this.”

Kelley was a member of the US Air Force and served at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his discharge, according to Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek.

Kelley was court-martialed in 2012 for assault on his spouse and assault on their child, according to Stefanek. Kelley served a year in confinement and received a bad conduct discharge. His rank was also reduced, she said.

In April 2016, Kelley purchased the Ruger AR-556 rifle he allegedly used in the shooting from a store in San Antonio. There was no disqualifying information in the background check that was done when he was trying to buy the rifle, according to law enforcement.

Speaking from Japan, President Donald Trump expressed condolences for the victims during a Monday news conference and said he believes the shooting was caused by a “mental health problem,” not an issue with US gun laws.

(©2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN contributed to this report.)

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