Small Community Shocked after Gunman Opens Fire in Church
SUTHERLAND SPRINGS – Residents of a small town where 26 parishioners were killed in a shooting Sunday are still shocked by the loss of their community.
The suspect opened fire at Sutherland Springs Baptist Church before noon.
The community tells us they wonder how a mass murder like this could happen in their town. The town is so small it’s not even an incorporated city.
Residents are currently crowded with law enforcement still combing through the crime scene. Media from all over the world also set up in the area to cover one of the deadliest shootings in Texas’ history.
People who live there said it’s a close-knit town.
“It’s overwhelming. It really is,” said Joe Pope, a Sutherland Springs resident.
Pope said he knows many of the 26 victims who died Sunday.
“There were eight people in that family. Everybody but one of the daughters,” he said. “I think the daughter was about eight years old. There was only one that’s still alive because she wasn’t in church.”
Pope’s best friend’s parents also died in the shooting. He also said he knows a 5-year-old boy who was shot four times. He remains in critical condition tonight.
“It’s shocking. It’s sickening,” he said. “I just can’t believe somebody can come do that down here and do something like this, especially with kids.”
Other residents like Oscar Garcia said they’re doing what they can to help.
“This is going to be a long healing process,” he said.
They’re taking donations to help the families of the victims and feeding law enforcement who‘s working around the clock.
“There was one family that lost seven members. What do you say to these people?” he said.
Both said no words can ease the pain felt in Sutherland Springs today.