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Two Dozen Killed in Rural Texas Church Shooting

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Two Dozen Killed in Rural Texas Church Shooting

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A gunman opened fire inside a rural Texas church on Sunday, killing about 25 people and injuring at least another 10, officials said.

"Approximately 25 people" were deceased, including the gunman, following the shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackett told NBC News.

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. said 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 exactly how many were dead or injured.

Several other law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation also said "multiple" people had been killed, with at least 10 others injured, and federal agents were headed to the scene.

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Later, from the scene of the shooting, Gamez said on MSNBC that he had heard from officials 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 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 area 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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"It's a small Baptist church. It's an older building. I don't know that they would have security cameras or anything high tech like that. And I know they didn't have security in the parking lot," she said.

"I never thought it would happen here," Matula added. "This is something that happens in a big city. I would never have thought this would have taken place here. It's just too tight a community. It doesn't make sense."

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The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said in a post on Twitter that it was sending special agents from its field offices in Houston and San Antonio to respond to the site of the shooting.

A spokeswoman with Connally Memorial Medical Center in Floresville, Texas, said it had taken in eight patients. Four of those patients were transferred to University Hospital in San Antonio "for higher level of care," two were discharged and two others were still being treated at the hospital, spokeswoman Megan Posey, said.

A spokesman for the University Health System said the hospital in San Antonio had received five adults and four children, with a 10th person likely to be transferred over from a rural hospital.

"While the details of this horrific act are still under investigation, Cecilia and I want to send our sincerest thoughts and prayers to all those who have been affected by this evil act," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. "I want to thank law enforcement for their response and ask that all Texans pray for the Sutherland Springs community during this time of mourning and loss."

President Donald Trump, travelling in Asia, tweeted, "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."

Sherri Pomeroy, the wife of church pastor Frank Pomeroy, told NBC News that her husband was out of town at the time of the reported shooting but that her daughter was inside the church.

Image: Carrie Matula embraces a woman after a fatal shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs
Euronews provides articles from NBC News as a service to its readers, but does not edit the articles it publishes.