SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas — A law enforcement official says more than 20 people have been killed in a shooting at a church in a small town outside San Antonio.
The official, who was briefed on the investigation, says the gunman fled the church in a vehicle after the shooting and was also killed, either by a self-inflicted wound or during a confrontation with police. The official was not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The official says between 10 to 15 people were also injured but stressed the investigation was early and the figures could change. Authorities are still trying to determine a motive.
Federal law enforcement swarmed the scene to offer assistance, including ATF investigators and members of the FBI’s evidence collection team.
Video on KSAT television showed first responders taking a stretcher from the church to a waiting AirLife helicopter. Some victims were taken by medical helicopter to the Brooke Army Medical Center, KSAT said.
The church is a white, wood-framed building with a double-door at the entrance and a Texas flag on a pole at the front area, according to its website, which was down shortly after the shooting. The website says the church schedule was for a fellowship breakfast on Sunday mornings, followed by Sunday School. A morning worship service was scheduled for 11 a.m. The first news reports of the shooting were between noon and 12:30 p.m.
Megan Posey, a spokeswoman for Connally Memorial Medical Center, which is in Floresville and about 10 miles from the church, said “multiple” victims were being treated for gunshot wounds. She declined to give a specific number but said it was less than a dozen.
A woman who lives about 10 minutes away from Sutherland Springs in Floresville and was monitoring the chaos on a police scanner and in Facebook community groups, said that everyone knows everyone in the sparsely populated county.
“This is horrific for our tiny little tight-knit town,” said Alena Berlanga. “Everybody’s going to be affected and everybody knows someone who’s affected,” she said.
President Donald Trump tweeted from Japan, where is his on an Asian trip, that he was monitoring the situation following the shooting. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the shooting an “evil act,” and promised “more details” from the state’s Department of Public Safety soon.
Sutherland Springs is 30 miles southeast of San Antonio.