(RNN) - Community members gathered Sunday evening for a vigil near the Texas church that was the site of a mass shooting as details emerged about the alleged shooter's military service and discharge.
Twenty-six people died after a gunman opened fire at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX, on Sunday; 23 were killed in the church, two outside and one shortly after being transported to a hospital.
"We can confirm 26 lives lost. We don’t know if that number will rise or not, but we know that’s too many," said Gov. Greg Abbott during a news conference. The shooting is the worst mass shooting in Texas history.
Ages of those killed range in age from 5 years old to 72, according to Freeman Martin, the Department of Public Safety Regional Director.
Martin said the male suspect began shooting outside of the church at 11:20 a.m. CT and then moved inside the church, which was about 30 minutes into its service. Martin said the suspect was dressed in all black, wearing tactical gear and a ballistic vest, and used a Ruger AR rifle.
During the shooting, a resident of the town exchanged gunfire with the shooter and then pursued the shooter as he fled the scene.
The gunman's car was found crashed off the road near the county line, and Martin said it was not clear if he was shot by the citizen who pursued him or of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Reports say as many as 20 people were wounded during the shooting at the church located about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio.
Two law enforcement officials identified the gunman as Devin Kelley, 26, from Comal County, which is northeast of San Antonio, according to multiple news outlets, including the Associated Press.
From 2010 to 2014, Kelley served in the Air Force before he was court-martialed and discharged for bad conduct, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said in a statement late Sunday. Stefanek said Kelley served in Logistics Readiness at Hollomon Air Force Base, NM, from 2010 until his discharge.
The bad conduct discharge stemmed from one count of assault on his spouse and another count of assault on their child, Stefanek said. Kelley also served 12 months in confinement and received a reduction in rank.
Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt Jr., whose jurisdiction includes the church, would not confirm the name and said during a news conference that the names of the dead are not yet confirmed either.
Annabelle Pomeroy, the 14-year-old daughter of the church's pastor, Frank Pomeroy, is among the dead, the Associated Press reports. Her mother, Sherri Pomeroy, wrote in a text message to the AP that she and her husband were out of town in two different states when the attack occurred.
"We lost our 14-year old-daughter today and many friends," she wrote. "Neither of us have made it back into town yet to personally see the devastation. I am at the Charlotte airport trying to get home as soon as I can," she said.
Another congregant who was not at church Sunday morning told AP that his cousin, who was pregnant with her fourth child, was killed in the massacre. Another of his cousins was also shot, but he did not know how that cousin was doing.
Families in tears wait to see if their family and friends are safe. Praying for the safety of all those involved. pic.twitter.com/yjzK7lZJ1S— Max Massey (@MaxMasseyTV) November 5, 2017
People are gathering at the Community Building learning what they can about their family and friends. Heartbreaking news and tears. pic.twitter.com/Rj55JKtTmG— Max Massey (@MaxMasseyTV) November 5, 2017
President Donald Trump addressed the nation in a live broadcast from Japan, where he just began a lengthy trip to several Asian countries.
"We cannot put into words the pain and grief we all feel, and we cannot begin to imagine the suffering of those who lost the ones they loved. Our hearts are broken," the president said. "But in dark times such as these, Americans do what we do best: we pull together. We join hands. We lock arms. And through the tears and the sadness, we stand strong."
Earlier, the president had tweeted his reaction to the shooting and his support for the small community.
May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2017
Carrie Matula, who works at a nearby store, told MSNBC the shooting is "devastating."
"We are hearing names of the victims, and it's devastating," Matula said. "It's asinine. There's no reason for it."
Helicopters were on scene to transport wounded to nearby hospitals. At least six people were transported to a hospital in San Antonio.
Our prayers are with all who were harmed by this evil act. Our thanks to law enforcement for their response. More details from DPS soon. https://t.co/KMCRmOPkiM— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) November 5, 2017
Sutherland Springs has a population of about 600 people and is located 34 miles east of San Antonio. The church records its services and posts the videos to YouTube. It is not known if the shooting was captured on camera.
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