Gov. Abbott: Sutherland Springs is the Largest Mass Shooting in Texas History

click to enlarge Gov. Abbott: Sutherland Springs is the Largest Mass Shooting in Texas History
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Texas Governor Greg Abbott held the first press conference in Sutherland Springs after a Sunday morning shooting at the small town's First Baptist Church left at least 26 dead. 

"As a state we are dealing with largest mass shooting in our state's history," Abbott told reporters, tearing up. "Every mom and dad ... put your arm around your child tonight, hold them tight. Tell your friend and your neighbor that you support them and you are there for them."

He couldn't share too much information about the shooting — partly because so much remains unknown. He mentioned that President Donald Trump, who is currently in Japan, called him to express his condolences. 

A number of different medical teams from San Antonio hospitals and trauma centers, along with the Red Cross, have arrived in Sutherland Springs, Abbott said.

"The one thing that is very important for everybody affected by this is that you avail yourself to counseling resources," he added.

The shooter has been identified as Devin Patrick Kelley, a 26-year-old New Braunfels resident.

Freeman Martin, the regional director for the Department of Public Safety, told reporters that Kelley approached the church dressed in all black. After parking his car at the Valero gas station across the street from the church, he crossed the street. Almost immediately, Martin said, Kelley began shooting. Kelley continued shooting once he stepped inside the church.

Martin said at least 13 people were killed inside the church.

As Kelley left the church, a man who lives next door stopped him, and somehow got Kelley to drop the assault rifle he was carrying. Kelley drove off, but was quickly tracked down by law enforcement. Martin said Kelley died after crashing his car close to the Wilson-Guadalupe County line.

At the evening press conference, Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackittt thanked the community for pulling together to support the shooting's victims, but had a specific message for reporters.

"Media don't blow it out that it should have never happened," Tackitt said. "Because it does happen."

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