A lone gunman walked into a church in a small town in southeast Texas on Sunday and opened fire, reportedly killing at least 26 people and injuring two dozen others.
The horror unfolded around 12:30 p.m. ET during a service at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, about 40 miles east of San Antonio.
Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez Jr. told MSNBC he had heard up to 27 people might have died, while it was believed 24 others had been injured, NBC News reported.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Sunday evening that at lest 26 were killed.
Gamez said he had been initially told the shooter had run from the carnage, but deputies chased him and the shooter was now dead, according to NBC News.
Freeman Martin, a regional director of the Texas Department of Safety, said an armed resident "grabbed his rifle and engaged that suspect" as he left the church.
President Donald Trump tweeted his first response to the shooting from Japan amid his 12-day trip to Asia.
At least six helicopters helped transport the victims, and a 2-year-old was among the wounded, The Dallas Morning News reported. Neighbors told the news outlet about 50 people usually attend services at the church.
"It's just a little church in a very small community, I don't know why it would be targeted," a local store owner told CNN on Sunday afternoon.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott denounced the "evil act," adding praise for the first responders, joining others in responding via Twitter.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called the attack "heartbreaking."
Paxton also issued a statement:
"The thoughts and prayers of all Texans are with the people of Sutherland Springs as tragic reports come out of First Baptist Church. My office stands ready to assist local law enforcement as needed."
Joseph Silva, 49, who lives about five miles northeast of Sutherland Springs, told The New York Times that police had instructed his family and neighbors to stay indoors.
"There is a gas station and a post office — that's about all there really is," he told the Times, calling it "a one-blinking-light town."
"There are a number of individuals just weeping and just wanted to know what's happened to their loved ones," he told the Times. "Everybody is pretty grief-stricken. Everyone's worried."
Reuters and AP contributed to this report.
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