Several Dead After South Texas Church Shooting

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Tex. (NBC News) -- About 25 people were killed after a gunman opened fire in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday, officials said.

"Approximately 25 people" were deceased, including the shooter, following the shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackett said Sunday afternoon. There was no information regarding the motivation behind the shooting, he added.

A single shooter walked into the church and opened fire, Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez Jr. told NBC News earlier Sunday.

Gamez said he had spoken to the sheriff and other officials who said there were multiple fatalities and multiple wounded, but it was not immediately clear how many were dead or injured.

Several other law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation also said "multiple" people had been killed, with as many as 15 injured. The FBI and ATF were headed to the scene.

A spokesperson for the Wilson County Sheriff's Office had described it as an "active shooter" incident.

Later, from the scene of the shooting, Gamez said on MSNBC that he had heard from officials there that up to 24 people may have died.

He added that he had been told that deputies were in pursuit of the suspect after the gunman fled the scene of the church.

But the shooter was now "deceased," Gamez said, adding that it was not clear if the gunman shot himself or was taken down by authorities.

Texas Congressman Vicente Gonzalez said on MSNBC he had received reports that "24 people are now deceased from this incident and 20 people are injured. We won’t have final numbers until probably a few more hours."

Gonzalez added that "apparently the shooter was not from the area, he was from outside of that area."

He added that based on what he knew he did not believe the incident was related to terrorism, but "was some kind of other incident that has to do with the church or the community."

"It's a rural community and a conservative, mostly farmers and ranchers and people who work out in the oil and gas patches," he said, adding that the community was "very tranquil and very safe."

Carrie Matula, who works at a gas station about a block and a half away from the church, told MSNBC that she heard "semiautomatic gunfire" and looked to see what was going on.

 


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