By: Neal Kisor, News Writer
It was a typical Sunday service for the citizens of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The town of only around 600 people, a town so small that everyone knows one another. The place where those wanting to escape the business and busyness of San Antonio, only a few miles East. Then, catastrophe struck. Devin Kelley, carrying a Ruger semi-automatic rifle and wearing a ballistic vest, marched forth towards the First Baptist Church and began to open fire. The people inside were praying, unaware at first of the looming danger.
In walked Kelley to the terrified churchgoers and began to open fire on the congregation. Within moments Kelley had gunned down most of the gathering. Over half of those shot were children. The victims ranged from a little over a year old all the way to seventy-two years old. A pregnant woman was shot and killed. The pastor’s daughter was shot and killed. Eight people from one family alone were wiped out. In total, twenty-six people were killed in the massacre. An additional twenty were wounded in the attacks as well. Just a little under ten percent of Sutherland Springs was impacted by this attack.
This attack is the deadliest in Texan history. The country is still reeling. President Trump declared that the attack was an issue of “mental health problems” and not a “gun problem.” While Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton proposed that churches should hire armed guards, or more churchgoers should enter armed. Paxton has come under fire for these suggestions.
Many are praising Stephen Willeford who was outside the church when he heard the gunshots. Willeford produced an AR-15 semi assault rifle and managed to shoot Kelley. Willeford, with neighbors around the church, began to chase Kelley as he attempted to flee the scene. The chase brought the band all the way to Guadalupe County, Texas where Kelley crashed his vehicle. When police arrived at Kelley’s vehicle he was dead, he had killed himself with a handgun. His motive is currently unknown, though he had not been racially or religiously inspired, according to those close to him.
The citizens of Sutherland Springs now heal, slowly, as the wounds from the shooting remain perpetually fresh. Their little town has been overrun with media, mourners, and anyone who wants to see this small town that’s been hurtled suddenly to the spotlight of America. The sad thing is that the exposure will not last. Eventually everyone will move on, everyone except the citizens of Sutherland Springs. For them, the shooting will be an event which shall forever live in infamy. Nearly everyone in town knew someone who was killed, or knows someone who was affected by it. This attack, along with the New York attack, which occurred only five days earlier, mark a somber beginning to November. Everyone is asking what will make the attacks and pain stop. What will put an end to all of this?