SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas — We’re learning more about the suspect who carried out an attack on a Texas church, killing 26 people yesterday.
Investigators say the 26-year-old called his father while fleeing the scene and told him he had been shot.
Today, the church pastor, who also lost a child, tried to make sense of the loss.
“You lean into what you don’t understand, you lean into the Lord,” said Frank Pomeroy, the pastor. “And I would submit this to everyone my family here and you guys there. Whatever life brings to you, lean on the Lord rather than your own understanding. I don’t understand. But I know my God does.”
Investigators also say the gunman’s ex-wife and former in-laws occasionally attended services at the church but were not there at the time.
FBI agents used metal detectors to comb through the murder scene outside the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas. Authorities say 26-year-old Devin Kelley opened fire during services Sunday, killing more than two dozen people.
“There was a domestic situation going on within this family,” said Freeman Martin of the Texas Department of Public Safety. “The suspect mother in law attended this church. We know that he had made threatening… She had texts from him.”
The victims range in age from 18 months to 77 years old.
One of the victims was 14-year-old Annabelle Pomeroy, the daughter of the church’s pastor, Frank Pomeroy. He and his wife were out of town when the massacre happened.
“The one thing that gives me a sliver of encouragement is that Belle was surrounded yesterday by her church family that she loved fiercely,” said Sherri Pomeroy, Annabelle’s mother.
Authorities say as Kelley left the church, a good samaritan who lives across the street exchanged gunfire, wounding Kelley before he drove off.
The good samaritan then jumped in a truck driven by Johnnie Langendorff and they gave chase.
“And said he just shot at the church we have to get him,” Langendorff said. “I said let’s go and that’s what we did.”
Authorities say during the chase Kelley called his father saying he had been shot and didn’t think he would make it. When police caught up with him, he was dead, investigators believe from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Kelley served in the Air Force but was court-martialed in 2012 on charges he assaulted his wife and child. He received a bad conduct discharge. Investigators recovered three weapons: the assault rifle at the scene and two handguns from the suspect’s vehicle.
Kelley worked as a night security guard at a Texas vacation resort.