Following yesterday’s shooting at a church in Texas, it’s been revealed the church’s regular pastor’s daughter was among those killed.
The 27 fatalities include: a mother-of-four and her two young daughters, the 14-year-old pastor’s daughter, Sunday’s stand-in preacher, his wife and pregnant daughter-in-law.
26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, of suburban San Antonio, opened fire on parishioners during Mass at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, killing dozens and injuring at least 25.
Police official Albert Gamez Jr confirmed the number of fatalities to CBS News:
The details are kind of sketchy but what I know right now, what they’re telling me, like 27 deceased and over 20, 25 injured.
My heart is broken. 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, what can happen.
The first victim to be identified was Annabelle Renee Pomeroy, whose father – First Baptist Church Pastor Frank Pomeroy – had been out of town during the attack.
The grieving dad told ABC news, he’s lost ‘one beautiful girl, and a ‘special child.’
According to CNN, Kelley was once a member of the US Air Force, spokeswoman Ann Stefanek confirmed.
He served in logistics readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, starting in 2010.
According to Stefanek, Kelley was court-martialed in 2012 for two counts of Article 128 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice – assault on his spouse and assault on their child.
Kelley received a bad conduct discharge, confinement for 12 months and a reduction in rank – the Air Force did not provide a date of the discharge.
Two heroic locals have been praised for reportedly helping to stop Kelley, as he was leaving the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs after opening fire on parishioners during Mass – 55-year-old Stephen Willeford confronted him.
According to the Daily Mail, Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director, Freeman Martin, said Willeford, a keen biker, had ‘grabbed his rifle and engaged the suspect.’
A local resident said Willeford – who attends a different church – was first alerted to the shooting when his daughter called him, saying there was a man in body armour gunning down churchgoers – he grabbed his gun and bravely headed down to confront Kelley.
26-year-old Kelley is said to have dropped his Ruger assault rifle and fled the scene in his SUV – the local resident stated Kelley had taken a hostage with him.
Johnnie Langendorff, who had reportedly witnessed the confrontation, refused to let the shooter get away – both he and Willeford jumped in his truck and gave chase.
Langendorff told KSAT 12 he’d been speeding at 95mph, while on the phone to dispatch, while Willeford kept his rifle trained on the gunman’s car.
As they approached a sharp curve in the road, near the 307 and 539, Langendorff said Kelley appeared to lose control and his car swerved off the road.
That’s when I put the truck in park. The other gentleman jumped out, and had his rifle on him. He didn’t move after that.
In a Facebook post, Langendorff’s girlfriend Summer Caddel described how the pair had ‘jumped in my boyfriend’s truck and they chased that sick b*stard down in pursuit until the cops could catch up. He was able to run the shooter off of the road on 539!’
Caddel added Kelley died within a few feet from her boyfriend.
As details continue to emerge, we will keep you updated!
Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy.
A sports enthusiast with a BA (Hons) in Sports Journalism, who can be found predominantly at Villa Park. Having completed a Masters in Broadcast Journalism, she then went on to work at Sky Sports, the BBC, and the Mirror. When not engrossed in sport, it’s animals, guitars, and Liam Gallagher which take main focus.