SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas – The Wilson County sheriff said there was likely “no way” for parishioners to escape once shooting started at the Sutherland Springs church.
Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt Jr. said Sunday night that the shooter fired several shots outside before entering the Sutherland Springs church and walking toward the front of the congregation.
Tackitt says the gunman then turned around and opened fire on his way back out the front door.
“I don’t think they could have escaped. You’ve got your pews on either side,” Tackitt said.
The shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas left 26 people -- ranging in age from 5 to 72 years old -- dead and 20 wounded, authorities said.
Devin Patrick Kelley, of New Braunfels, has been identified as the gunman.
Kelley walked into the First Baptist Church and began shooting around 11:20 a.m., before fleeing in a vehicle, Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt said. Witnesses said Kelley was dressed in all black tactical gear and a ballistic vest. A Department of Public Safety official said he was carrying a Ruger ARb assault-type rifle.
Tackitt says investigators have not yet determined a motive for the attack.