The pastor of the church that was the site of a tragic mass shooting on Sunday has confirmed that his 14-year-old daughter was killed in the attack. Annabelle Pomeroy was killed in the church while attending the 11 a.m. service when a gunman opened fire on the church congregation, killing more than 20 people and injuring dozens, according to officials.
Annabelle's father Frank, the First Baptist Church's pastor, said he was away in Oklahoma with his wife when the devastating attack took place. Her father called her "one very beautiful, special child."
In a press conference Sunday evening, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackett reported that the ages of the victims range from "at least five years old to 72 years old." It isn't clear that how many people were in the church when the alleged shooting took place.
Many people online spoke out about Pomeroy's death once her father confirmed she had died. One Twitter user wrote:
This is 14 year old Annabelle Pomeroy, the daughter of a pastor who was murdered today while attending service in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Her death mustn't be in vain. To the lawmakers of America, we need action. #GunControl
Sunday afternoon's church shooting in Sutherland Springs will be yet another incident of gun violence in the United States. In October, a gunman allegedly opened fire on 22,000 concert-goers in Las Vegas, killing over 50 people and injuring at least 500, while in late September, another gunman allegedly killed one person and wounded seven others in a shooting at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Tennessee.
Official response to the church shooting placed emphasis on the media "not blow[ing] it out," as Tackett put it on Sunday. Gov. Abbott stated during the press conference:
One thing that is very important for everybody affected by this, whether you're a family member or non-family member, is that you avail yourself of counseling resources that will be made readily available in abundance.
President Donald Trump issued his initial remarks on the incident over Twitter while on his Asia tour.
May God be [with] the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI [and] law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.
Later on, in an official presser, Trump said:
[T]hrough the tears and through the sadness, we stand strong — oh, so strong. My administration will provide its full support to the great state of Texas and all local authorities investigating this horrible crime.
I've spoken just a few minutes ago with Governor Abbott, and we offer our thanks to the first responders, the FBI, all of the many people involved, both federal and otherwise. Ultimately, they stopped the suspect and rendered immediate lifesaving aid to certain victims of the shooting.
Trump's response to the Sutherland Springs shooting seemed to be in stark contrast with his comments on the recent incident of violence in New York City, when a man allegedly drove his rental truck into a bike lane and produced imitation firearms on Oct. 31. The incident led to the death of eight people, according to authorities. Trump's comments were much harsher for the Lower Manhattan incident, wherein he openly called for the death penalty and that the suspect be sent to Guantanamo Bay.
In one of his tweets, Trump said, "[I] would love to send the New York City terrorist to Guantanamo but statistically that process takes much longer than going through the Federal system" and went on to say, "There is also something appropriate about keeping him in the home of the horrible crime he committed. Should move fast. DEATH PENALTY!"
At this moment, officials claim that the motive of the alleged shooter is unknown.