TEXAS

Starkville Daily News - - AROUND TOWN -

Church of­fi­cials have said the build­ing will likely be de­mol­ished at some point.

It will be the first time the pub­lic is al­lowed back to the church it­self, which is ex­pected to be de­mol­ished so a new struc­ture can be built. Pomeroy has said it would be too painful to con­tinue us­ing First Bap­tist Church as a place of wor­ship.

The gun­man, Devin Pa­trick Kelley, died of an ap­par­ent self-in­flicted gun­shot wound af­ter he was shot and chased by two men who heard the gun­fire at the church. In­ves­ti­ga­tors have said the at­tack ap­peared to stem from a do­mes­tic dis­pute in­volv­ing Kelley and his mother-in-law, who some­times at­tended ser­vices at the church but wasn't there the day of the shoot­ing.

Kelley had a his­tory of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence: He was given a bad con­duct dis­charge from the Air Force af­ter plead­ing guilty to as­sault­ing his first wife and step­son.

For Sun­day's ser­vice, peo­ple from other churches dropped off hand­made prayer cloths and tiny wooden crosses, among other gifts. Men­tal health or­ga­ni­za­tions pro­vided tis­sues and brought ther­apy dogs to the ser­vice.

Repub­li­can Sen. John Cornyn spoke at the ser­vice, say­ing lives were stolen as dark­ness over­took one man's heart.

"The pain of los­ing 26 mem­bers is over­whelm­ing," Cronyn said. "Many lives have been changed for­ever . ... I can't imag­ine what you've been grap­pling with ever since."

On Satur­day, about 100 peo­ple gath­ered out­side the com­mu­nity cen­ter to com­mem­o­rate

Vet­er­ans Day and honor the shoot­ing vic­tims, nearly half of whom had Air Force ties.

"Maybe this will start the heal­ing process that will get Suther­land Springs and Wil­son County to put this hor­rific tragedy be­hind us and look to the fu­ture," county Judge Richard Jack­son, his voice break­ing, told the Satur­day crowd, which in­cluded first re­spon­ders and law en­force­ment of­fi­cers.

Jack­son, the county's top ad­min­is­tra­tor, thanked the first re­spon­ders and oth­ers who rushed to First Bap­tist Church in the af­ter­math of last Sun­day's shoot­ing, which also wounded about 20 peo­ple. What they saw there will af­fect them the rest of their lives, Jack­son said.

Suther­land Springs is about 30 miles (48 kilo­me­ters) south­east of San An­to­nio and not far from sev­eral mil­i­tary posts, in­clud­ing Lack­land Air Force Base. The Air Force's chief of staff, Gen. David Gold­fein, said 12 of those killed were ei­ther mem­bers of the Air Force or had fam­ily ties to it.

On Satur­day, two sil­ver hearses car­ried the bod­ies of an­other cou­ple, Therese and Richard Ro­driguez, to a small ceme­tery on the edge of Suther­land Springs fol­low­ing a fu­neral.

A steady stream of peo­ple also vis­ited a makeshift me­mo­rial of crosses adorned with flow­ers, pho­to­graphs, red hearts and white, pur­ple and pink bal­loons. Among them was Jackie Lee, who trav­eled from San An­to­nio with sev­eral friends.

"It was on my heart since it hap­pened," she said. "I needed to come to show the com­mu­nity some sup­port, to show these peo­ple some sup­port."

Gay, AP) (Photo by Eric

Christina Os­born and her chil­dren Alexander Os­born and Bella Araiza visit a makeshift me­mo­rial for the vic­tims of the shoot­ing at Suther­land Springs Bap­tist Church, Sun­day, Nov. 12, 2017, in Suther­land Springs, Texas. A man opened fire in­side the church in the small South Texas com­mu­nity a week ago, killing more than two dozen.

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