Mass shooting in Texas

Jenae Marshall, News Writer

A small town called Sutherland Springs, Texas did not think a shooting would ever occur in their town. On November 5, 2017 around 11:20 a.m., Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire during a Sunday service at a small Baptist church.  Twenty six lives were taken, making it the deadliest mass shooting in the state’s history. The victims ranged in age from 17 months to 77 years, including an unborn baby. Kelley went into the church and started shooting. Freeman Martin, of the Texas Department of Public Safety, was one of the authorities present at the shooting.

“We know that he expressed anger towards his mother-in-law, who attends this church,” Martin said.

Kelley’s motive for the shooting was believed to be to kill his mother-in-law. Although this is assumed to be his intention, his mother-in-law was not present in the congregation when he opened fire.

“There are many ways that he could have handled the issue with his mother-in-law without coming with 15 loaded magazines and an assault rifle to a church,” Martin said. “I think he came here with a purpose and a mission.”

Kelley made his plans clear when shots rang out in the church. A nearby resident, Chris Speer, heard the gunshots from his house and knew something was not right.

“Your first instinct, you’re out in the country, you think someone is practicing shooting,” Speer said. “But it was too close. I knew something wasn’t right.”

After Kelley left the church, a resident who lived nearby stopped and shot him. Kelley then called his father and told him he did not think he was going to live. When he got done talking to his father, he shot himself. Kelley was later found dead in his car, which contained several weapons. He is thought to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

There were dozens of people wounded during this tragic event, and almost all the people in the congregation that day were affected. Moving forward, the community is using their faith as a way to stay strong. Some of the residents have hung wooden crosses on their front doors and placed them in their yards. Upon entering the church for the first time after the shooitng, 26 white chairs were placed there to signify the 26 lives lost. Although the community lost many loved ones, they have grown closer as a result.

Jenae Marshall

News Writer