Three years ago, the nation wasn’t focused on the next race for the White House. And possibly no one could have understood that a global health crisis would have killed more than 230,000 Americans, including more than 18,300 Texans.
On Nov. 5, 2017, the nation was gripped by an unspeakable tragedy at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.
There, 26 people were killed and 20 others were injured when a gunman opened fire during a Sunday service at the church, located in the city just southeast of Bexar County. Among the dead included an unborn child.
It was the deadliest shooting in an American place of worship in modern history.
The gunman, Devin Patrick Kelley of New Braunfels, was chased off from the scene and ultimately died from a combination of return fire and a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Eighteen months after the tragedy, a new First Baptist Church building opened to members of the community. Members of the church vowed to move forward and to show that “evil did not win.”
“Proof of this building existing here after everything is proof that God’s truth is the truth,” Julie Workman, a survivor of the shooting, told reporters after the new building’s dedication in May 2019.
This year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the church has not scheduled a service to honor the victims on the anniversary of the tragedy, but church members will ring the church bell 26 times at 11:25 a.m.
“There will be no speakers or service, just a somber, prayerful time of remembrance that #evildidnotwin,” the church said.