At least 26 individuals were killed over 20 injured in the United States after a gunman open fire at a Texas church on Sunday. 

Suspect Devin Kelley was found dead in his car further down a highway in a different county after opening fire with a Ruger assault rifle outside the church at around 11:30 am local time.

The gun attack occurred at First Baptist Church in the rural town of Sutherland Springs in Wilson County, with victims as young as 18 months to some elderly aged up to 77.

Various reports say the death toll is 27, making the exact number unclear.

Authorities said local Stephen Willeford had retrieved his own rifle and started firing at the suspect as he left the church, who then dropped his weapon and fled in a vehicle.

Willeford, 55, proceeded to engage in a pursuit of the suspect before Kelley crashed his car at the Guadalupe County line. It was unclear whether his death was caused by self-harm or injuries sustained from the armed citizen.

Kelley, 26, has not been officially named by authorities who only gave the description of “young, white male”, but US media have reported the name and a corresponding image.

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The assailant was reportedly discharged in 2014 by the United States Air Force after receiving a court martial for assaulting his wife and child.

Police said Monday morning that the shooter was not racially or religiously motivated, but was in a domestic dispute.

Sutherland Springs is a small southern Texan town around an hour from San Antonio.

Its pastor Frank Pomeroy and his wife Sherri were in separate states on Sunday but their daughter, Annabelle, aged 14, was among those shot to death.

Mr Pomeroy described his daughter as a “beautiful, special child” in a phone call with ABC News.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott gave the most recent confirmed death toll on Sunday, saying it was the worst mass shooting in the history of his state.

“This will be a long, suffering mourning for those in pain,” he said said during a news conference near the church.

President Donald Trump responded on Twitter soon after the news broke from Japan where he is kicking off a long Asia tour.

Mr Trump said he was “monitoring the situation from Japan” and “may God be [with] the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas.”

The president also made a vocal statement late on Sunday local time from overseas.


More details to follow. Image 1 of the scene from Newstalk 1010/AP. 

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Written by Eli Ridder

Eli Ridder is a journalism student at the University of Guelph-Humber and a senior correspondent for multiple independent publications including, but not limited to, The Anon Journal, Berning Media Network and the Ribbon. Find out more at eliridder.ca

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