A church shooting in Sutherland Texas was stopped after a local gun owner grabbed his rifle and began returning fire at the shooter, police announcedÂ Sunday.
Police say the shooter, who has beenÂ identifiedÂ as 26-year-old Devin P. Kelley of New Braunfels, Texas, walked inside the church and opened fire just before 11:30 a.m. local time. Kelly killed at least 26 people before an unidentified gun owner forced him to flee by grabbing his own rifle and returning fire, Texas RangersÂ announcedÂ Sunday.
â€œAt approximately 11:20 this morning a suspect was seen at a Valero gas station in Sutherland Springs, Texas,â€ Police Maj. Freeman Martin told reporters. â€œHe was dressed in all black. That suspect crossed the street to the church, exited his vehicle and began firing at the church.â€
â€œThat suspect then moved to the right side of the church and then continued to fire,â€ he continued. â€œThat suspect entered the church and continued to fire. As he exited the church, a local resident grabbed his rifle and engaged that suspect. The suspect dropped his rifle, which was a Ruger AR assault-type rifle and fled from the church.â€
â€œOur local citizen pursued the suspect at that time,â€ Freeman said. â€œA short time later law enforcement responded that [the] suspect [was] right at the Wilson/Guadalupe County line â€¦ and was found deceased in his vehicle. At this time we donâ€™t know if it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound or if he was shot by the local resident. We know heâ€™s deceased in the vehicle. â€
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, confirmed that 26 people were killed and as many as 30 other wounded in the shooting. The death toll makes the attack the deadliest shooting at a place of worship in American history.
â€œWe all know what happened here today. Itâ€™s something we all say does not happen in small communities,â€ Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt said at a Sunday evening press conference. â€œToday we found out that it does.â€
The victims ranged from five to 72 years old, officials said. First responders found 23 dead bodies inside the church, two more outside, and one person who was transported to a hospital but later died.
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