SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas - An armor-clad gunman opened fire inside a rural Texas church on Sunday, killing more than two dozen people in the largest mass shooting in the state's history.
Twenty-six people were killed during the shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said at a press conference Sunday evening.
“We don’t know if that number will rise or not, but we know is that’s too many and this will be a long, suffering mourning for those in pain,” he said.
"We are dealing with the largest mass shooting in our state's history," he added.
The shooter is also dead, officials said.
Earlier Sunday, Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackett had told NBC News "approximately 25 people" were deceased, including the gunman.
Law enforcement officials identified the gunman on Sunday evening as Devin Patrick Kelley, age 26, of neighboring Comal County. Officials were preparing to search his home. Texas officials on the record would only say the shooter was a "young white male."
There was no immediate information on the reason behind the shooting, according to Sheriff Tackett. Federal officials said while the gunman's motivation was unclear, there were no obvious signs of a connection to terrorism.
The shooter, dressed in all black and wearing tactical gear and a ballistic vest, first began firing outside the church at around 11:20 a.m. local time (12:20 p.m. ET) before he continued his shooting spree inside, said Freeman Martin, a regional director with the Texas Department of Public Safety. He was armed with a "Ruger AR assault-type rifle," he said.
A local citizen confronted the gunman, "grabbed his rifle and engaged that suspect," he said.
"We know the ages range from 5 years old to 72 years of age," Martin said.
The gunman dropped the rifle and then fled the scene with the local citizen in pursuit, he said.
As law enforcement responded, the suspect ran off the road in his car at the Wilson-Guadalupe County line and crashed, Martin said. He suspect was found dead in his vehicle.
"We don't know if this was a self-inflicted gunshot wound or if he was shot by our local resident who engaged him with gunfire," he added.
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