Texas Church Massacre Is Fifth Deadliest Shooting in America's History
Twenty-six people have been killed and another 20 more were injured when a gunman opened fire during morning worship at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Sunday.
Devin Patrick Kelley, who was wearing all-black tactical gear and a mask, opened fire outside the First Baptist Church at about 11:20 a.m. local time before entering the church and continuing to shoot, according to authorities. The gunman fled in a car and was later found dead with a gunshot wound.
Among the dead are children, a pregnant woman and the 14-year-old daughter of the church's pastor, according to reports.
The massacre is the deadliest mass shooting in Texas' modern history and the deadliest in an American place of worship, surpassing the killings at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., in 2015. That attack left nine dead.
While the death toll in Texas is still preliminary, the tragedy appears to be the fifth deadliest shooting in U.S. history, behind the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, which left 27 dead.
It comes just a month after the deadliest shooting in modern American history.
58 Killed at Las Vegas concert on Oct. 1, 2017
On Oct. 1, as 22,000 people were enjoying Jason Aldean's performance at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
He killed 58 concertgoers and injured more than 500. It was the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history.
Paddock, a retired accountant who lived in Mesquite, Nev., used an automatic rifle to fire from about 400 yards away. Cops found him dead in the hotel room with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, surrounded by firearms, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said.
49 Killed in the Orlando Nightclub Shooting on April 12, 2016
Gunman Omar Mateen, 29, opened fire into a crowd of partygoers at Pulse, a local gay nightclub, at around 2 a.m. during the venue's weekly Saturday "Latin Night."
Dozens were initially killed in the attack, and several others were held hostage for hours in a women's bathroom before police intervened and fatally shot Mateen.
During this time, many frightened clubgoers sent text messages to their friends and family, keeping them updated about the situation.
Mina Justice shared with reporters her son, 30-year-old Eddie, texted her that night, "Mommy I love you" and "He has us, and he's in here with us" before they lost contact.
Justice found out days later her son had perished in the attack.
32 Killed in the Virginia Tech Shooting on April 16, 2007
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University student Seung-Hui Cho fatally shot 32 people — including 27 fellow students and five faculty members — and injured 17 others in two separate attacks on the Blacksburg campus before turning the gun on himself.
After the shooting, NBC News received writings, photographs and video that Cho sent the station, in which the 23-year-old gunman complained about being bullied and ranted about “brats.”
The American Psychiatric Association urged the media to stop airing his so-called manifesto, saying in a statement: “The publicity of the Cho materials not only seems insensitive to the grieving and traumatized families, friends and peers of those murdered and injured, but also seriously jeopardizes the public’s safety by potentially inciting 'copycat' suicides, homicides and other incidents.”
27 Killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting on December 14, 2012
Gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 first-graders, all ages 6 and 7, as well as six adult staff members and himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Before opening fire at the school, Lanza shot and killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, in their Newtown home. The 20-year-old’s motive for targeting the school was never established.
Lanza suffered from extreme mental health issues that were left untreated and he was preoccupied with violence, a report from the Office of the Child Advocate found.
"[Lanza], who over the years engaged in recreational shooting activities with both of his parents, retained access to numerous firearms and high capacity ammunition magazines even as his mental health deteriorated in late adolescence," the report said.
23 Killed in Shooting at Texas Restaurant on Oct. 16, 1991
After 35-year-old George Hennard drove his pickup truck into Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, he sprayed bullets on the packed eatery before fatally shooting himself.
As he began shooting, Hennard — who was described by others as an angry and withdrawn man who disliked women and minorities — reportedly yelled: "All women of Killeen and Belton are vipers! This is what you’ve done to me and my family! ... This is payback day!"
Twenty-three people were killed and 27 others were wounded in what was, until Oct. 1, the U.S.’s deadliest shooting to occur outside a school.
21 Killed in McDonald’s Massacre on July 18, 1984
Former security guard James Huberty, 41, shot and killed 21 people and wounded 19 others before he was fatally shot by a police sniper in San Ysidro, Calif.
Huberty brought a cache of weapons and ammunition to the McDonald’s restaurant on San Ysidro Boulevard, where 45 customers were dining. Inside, he shot two employees and ordered everyone on the ground before opening fire on a customer who tried to convince him to stop. He went on to kill additional employees and customers — including a pregnant woman, children, an infant and the elderly — before he was killed.
18 Killed in University of Texas at Austin Shooting on Aug. 1, 1966
Former U.S. Marine Charles Joseph Whitman opened fire from the top of a tower at UT Austin, where he killed 16 and wounded 32. He began to encounter return fire from police and armed civilians before he was fatally shot by an officer who managed to climb to the top of the tower undetected.
Police determined the 25-year-old had stabbed his wife and mother to death before making his way to the university. His mother had also been shot in the back of the head.
14 Killed at a San Bernardino Office Party on Dec. 2, 2015
Married couple Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, left their 6-month-old daughter with family members before firing on the Department of Public Health's holiday luncheon at the Inland Regional Center, where Farook was an employee. The attack – which including an attempted bombing – left 14 dead and 22 injured.
Farook, who was U.S.-born with Pakistani descent, and Malik, a Pakistani-born permanent resident of the U.S., were declared "homegrown violent extremists" by the FBI, but were not directed by any terrorist organizations.
Their family learned what they did when Farook and Malik did not return to collect their daughter. A year after the shooting, Farook's sister Saira Khan, filed to adopt the little girl.
14 Killed at the Edmond Post Office Shooting on Aug. 20, 1986
Post office worker Patrick Sherill, 45, open fire in a small facility containing about 100 staff around 7 a.m. after he had been reprimanded by supervisors the day before. The attack left 14 dead and six others injured before Sherill turned the gun on himself.
The term "going postal" was inspired by the massacre.
13 Killed at Columbine High School Massacre on April 20, 1999
Seniors Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and one teacher in a highly planned attack. Their plot included the use of fire bombs, bombs created out of propane tanks, car bombs and other explosive devices. Dozens were injured in their desperate attempts to escape.
Harris and Klebold, who claimed bullying drove them to the shooting, turned the guns on themselves, ending the violence with their suicides.
13 Killed in 'Walk of Death' Shooting on Sept. 6, 1949
In what is known as modern America's first so-called mass shooting, World War II veteran Howard Barton Unruh shot and killed 13 people at random as he took a 12-minute walk around his neighborhood.
A local reporter later phoned Unruh's home and asked how many people he had killed.
He reportedly responded: “I don’t know. I haven’t counted. Looks like a pretty good score.”
Unruh, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, admitted to the killings but never stood trial.