EMT On Her Way to the Texas Church Shooting Only to Realize Her Family Was Inside

November 09, 2017Nov 09, 2017

Wilson County emergency medical technician Torie McCallum was on her way to the scene of the Texas church shooting when she found out it was the church some of her family members attended: the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.

“I turn on my E-Dispatch on my phone to listen to the page and realized it was the church in Sutherland Springs and my heart immediately sank,” McCallum, 30, told local news outlet KSAT-TV. “I made it to the scene to see if I could see who was flown out and who was taken if they had a list.” 

Inside the First Baptist church were McCallum’s pregnant sister-in-law Crystal Holcombe and three generations of the Holcombe family. Crystal’s husband, John, and their young children, Evelyn, Greg, 13, Emily, 11, and Megan, 9, as well as his parents Bryan, 60, and Karla, 58, his brother Marc, 36, and 17-month-old niece Noah. (Crystal had been married to McCallum’s brother Pete before he died in 2011.)

A fellow medic and coworker were able to identify one of McCallum’s nieces.

“I showed him a picture of my niece, Emily, and he said that was her,” McCallum said.

Crystal Holcombe died Sunday inside the house of worship with three of her children, Emily, Megan, and Greg.

Sadly, only two of ten family members survived: John and Evelyn. The deaths were confirmed to PEOPLE by Bryan’s father, Joe Holcombe.

She had remarried after her first husband's death and was a mother of five. Holcombe was also pregnant, according to authorities. Police included the unborn child in the official death toll of 26.

When her two nieces and nephew went to heaven, McCallum said, she knows "the first person they saw was my brother, Pete — was their dad."

The family has set up a GoFundMe account where donations can be made. 

In related news, the pastor of the church has now made a big announcement.

Next: Pastor of Texas Church Makes Big Announcement After Mass Murder of 26 LivesNov 09, 2017