SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas (AP) — A man opened fire inside of a church in a small South Texas community on Sunday, killing multiple people and wounding others before being “taken down,” authorities said.
Authorities said a man walked into the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs and began shooting, killing multiple people and wounding others. Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt told the Wilson County News that the shooter had been “taken down,” but it’s not known how the shooter died.
Authorities haven’t said how many were killed or wounded, but a Wilson County commissioner, Albert Gamez, told cable news outlets that emergency officials told him more than 20 people were slain and more than 20 others were wounded, though those figures hadn’t been confirmed.
Video on KSAT television showed first responders taking a stretcher from the church to a waiting AirLife helicopter. Some victims were taken by medical helicopter to the Brooke Army Medical Center, KSAT said.
The church is a white, wood-framed building with a double-door at the entrance and a Texas flag on a pole at the front area, according to its website, which was down shortly after the shooting. The website says the church schedule was for a fellowship breakfast on Sunday mornings, followed by Sunday School. A morning worship service was scheduled for 11 a.m. The first news reports of the shooting were between noon and 12:30 p.m.
Megan Posey, a spokeswoman for Connally Memorial Medical Center, which is in Floresville and about 10 miles from the church, said “multiple” victims were being treated for gunshot wounds. She declined to give a specific number but said it was less than a dozen.
A woman who lives about 10 minutes away from Sutherland Springs in Floresville and was monitoring the chaos on a police scanner and in Facebook community groups, said that everyone knows everyone in the sparsely populated county.
“This is horrific for our tiny little tight-knit town,” said Alena Berlanga. “Everybody’s going to be affected and everybody knows someone who’s affected,” she said.
President Donald Trump tweeted from Japan, where is his on an Asian trip, that he was monitoring the situation following the shooting. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the shooting an “evil act,” and promised “more details” from the state’s Department of Public Safety soon.
Sutherland Springs is 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of San Antonio.
This version of the story corrects the spelling of the sheriff’s last name to Tackitt from Tackett.