As details emerge about 26-year-old Texas church shooter Devin Kelley’s past and how he was able to obtain the guns he used to kill 26 people in the congregation, those who survived the massacre are opening up about the horrors they witnessed inside the small sanctuary of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.
According to KSAT out of San Antonio, churchgoers Joaquin Ramirez and Rosanne Solis said Kelley begin his attack by shooting through the wooden walls of the church’s sanctuary. The congregation was in the midst of singing when the bullets began to fly into the room.
Solis said, "I hear firecrackers popping. Ta-ta-ta. Everybody started screaming, yelling. Everyone got down, crawling under wherever they could hide. It was so scary. He was shooting hard."
Solis, who, like several others, was hit in the initial onslaught, felt confused when the shooting abruptly stopped.
Bleeding from a shoulder wound at the time, Solis said she “thought it was the police when he went inside because everyone got real quiet. Everyone was saying ‘Be quiet. It's him. It's him.’”
“‘Everybody die [expletive],’” Kelley suddenly yelled out and “started shooting again,” she explained.
At that point Kelley entered the church, mowing down the central aisle from the back doors to the stage, gunning down congregants row by row as he went. He even fired point-blank at any baby that cried, according to injured Ramirez, claiming victims as young as 5 months old. According to 10 TV News, he appeared to be specifically targeting anyone that made a noise and shot people as old as 77.
Kelley finally left the building and was shot, pursued, and ultimately stopped by two incredible heroes. In the end, Kelley took his own life, and police believe his attack would have continued if armed neighbor Stephen Willeford hadn’t fired back at him with a semi-automatic rifle.
In all, Kelley may have fired up to 450 rounds from his own semi-automatic rifle, judging by the 15 spent 30-round magazines investigators discovered at the scene. On Monday, the Air Force acknowledged that Kelley, a court-martialed airman with a history of domestic abuse, should have never been able to legally purchase the firearms he had bought over the past few years if the proper paperwork had been filed on his criminal history.
Now the church in the tiny town of Sutherland Springs is dealing with the deaths and injuries of the majority of its tight-knit congregation.
The pastor’s wife, Sherri Pomeroy, explained, "Our church was not comprised of members or parishioners. We were a very close family. Now, most of our church family is gone."
Please, please pray for First Baptist Church and the entire community as they deal with the pure evil that happened that day and experience the aftermath of it for the rest of their lives. In related news, with President Trump in Asia, Vice President Mike Pence has announced what he and his wife Karen will do for Sutherland Springs.