Up to 14 children killed in Texas church shooting

(NBCNews) - About half of the victims killed in the worst mass shooting inside a house of worship in American history were children, a Texas sheriff said Monday.

About two dozen people were shot dead during the Sunday massacre at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a small, tight-knit town about 30 miles outside of San Antonio. Of them, 12 to 14 were kids, according to Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt. The wife of the church pastor said their 14-year-old daughter was among them.

In addition to the dead, at least 19 people were injured, according to three area hospitals. It was the largest mass shooting in Texas state history.

Authorities have said the ages of the victims range from 5 to 72, although one family says an infant girl was also killed.

The identities of the victims have not yet been confirmed. According to The Washington Post, Joe and Claryce Holcombe lost eight members of their family, including children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Sherri Pomeroy, the wife of First Baptist Church pastor Frank Pomeroy, told NBC News that she and her husband were both out of town at the time of the shooting, but that their daughter, Annabelle, was killed.

"My husband and I were ironically out of town in two different states. We lost our 14-year-old daughter today and many friends. Neither of us have made it back into town yet to personally see the devastation," she said en route home from the Charlotte, North Carolina, airport.

The suspect, Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, of neighboring Comal County, began firing outside the church at around 11:20 a.m. local time with an assault-type rifle, and then continued shooting inside, officials said. He died of a gunshot wound after a local resident confronted him and pursued him in his car, they added. It wasn't clear whether he died of a self-inflicted shot or of a gunshot fired by the resident, Johnnie Langendorff.

Tackitt said on Megyn Kelly TODAY that the suspect's in-laws attended the church, although they weren't there at the time. The in-laws were speaking with investigators, Tackitt said.

No motive has been given. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told TODAY on Monday morning that there was "information surfacing" about why that particular location was chosen.

"That information may be coming out today or tomorrow, in the coming days, but I don't think this was a random act of shooting," Abbott said.

This is a developing story click here for updates.


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