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Gov. Abbott On Sutherland Springs: 'Largest Mass Shooting In Our State's History'

David Martin Davies
TPR News

Updated at 2 p.m. Tuesday

According to authorities, the autopsy of Texas shooter, Devin Kelley, has found that he was struck by three bullets before he died – two from an “armed civilian,” in the leg and torso, and one in the head, which is consistent with being self-inflicted.

Original post

Gov. Greg Abbott said at least 26 people are dead after a mass shooting at in rural community church Sunday in south Texas.

The shooting occurred in Sutherland Springs, about 45 miles southeast of San Antonio. The victims range in age from 5 to 72.


"We are dealing the largest mass shooting in our state's history," said Abbott during a Sunday evening news conference.

Texas Department of Public Safety director Freeman Martin said the shooting at First Baptist Church began at around 11:20 a.m. and he was seen wearing tactical gear at a gas station across the street before the shooting.

The shooter was identified as Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, according to a law enforcement official. Kelley served in the U.S. Air Force at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until receiving a bad conduct discharge in 2014, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek confirmed in an email to NPR. He was court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his wife and child.

Freeman said the suspect was found dead in vehicle and it is not known if it was self inflicted or if his death was caused by injuries sustained during a gunfight with a resident.

Pastor Paul Bueford of the nearby River Oaks Church said emergency responders began receiving calls while attending Sunday services.

“Those first responders immediately left our church our to come down to help," he said. "Our church went into what we do we started praying for everyone that was involved in it."

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, issued a statement after the shooting.

“While many of the details are yet to be determined, clearly what happened today in Sutherland Springs is a horrific tragedy. I have spoken personally with Wilson County Sheriff Joe D. Tackitt, Jr. and Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez, Jr. and offered the full resources of my office to assist in any way possible both now and as we move forward.

"... My job now is to make sure that he and the people of Sutherland Springs have access to every resource available to them, and I will make sure that they have everything they need. Sutherland Springs has a special place in my heart. It is one of those unique communities where everyone knows everyone else and supports each other."

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said in a statement: “I'm heartbroken by the horrific shooting in Texas. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Sutherland Springs and all those affected by this unspeakable tragedy.

“No American should ever be afraid to worship. No family should ever face the unbearable pain that too many American families are feeling today. In the last 35 days, we've witnessed two of the worst mass shootings in American history. We cannot allow those who wish us harm to so easily turn their hatred into violence. And we must be united in working to ensure that these tragedies become a relic of the past rather than routine.”

This is the eighth anniversary of the Fort Hood shooting. The shooting on Nov. 5, 2009 resulted in 13 deaths and 30 injured.

Vince Kong can be reached at vince@tpr.org or on Twitter @teamvincek

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules
Vince Kong comes to Texas Public Radio after working for about a decade in print, including stints in the Midwest, Northwest and Southwest.