A pastor said his 14-year old daughter was one of the 26 victims in today's Sutherland Springs, Texas, mass shooting. Frank Pomeroy, pastor of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, reportedly told ABC News during a phone call that his daughter Annabelle Renee Pomeroy was killed in the attack. He said she "was one very beautiful, special child."
Pomeroy also said that he was not at the church during the shooting, but rather in Oklahoma. He returns to a community in mourning and said his close friends were among the victims. More details are still emerging.
Authorities have not publicly revealed or speculated on the suspect's identity or motive. Witnesses told Reuters that 20 shots rang out around 11:30 a.m. during a morning service.
A group of people were filmed holding hands and praying outside the church. One crying woman, uncredited in the video, said, "Be with us as we learn to deal with this in the days to come."
A churchgoer at a neighboring church—who came to pray and help—told Fox News, "It's devastating for us and for our community, but God is still in control."
Christian commentator Dr. Michael Brown weighed in on the tragedy:
The pastor of the church in Texas said his 14-year-old daughter was among the victims. Who would dream of this at a Sunday service?— Dr. Michael L. Brown (@DrMichaelLBrown) Nov. 5, 2017
David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA, said, "The senseless attack in Texas today is both disturbing and heartbreaking. Though the motive remains unknown, this is reminiscent of attacks Christian churches experience regularly in places where persecution is part of everyday life. So far, American churches have largely been spared from such violence, but I fear these attacks may grow in number. For now, all we can do is pray for the families, regardless of what motivated this attacker to commit this heinous act."
Update: the story was updated at 7:05 p.m. to reflect official death count.
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