At least 26 people have been killed after a gunman opened fire with an assault rifle at a smalltown Texas church, with the youngest victim just five years old, Sky news reports.
The suspect, wearing black tactical gear and a ballistic vest, targeted the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, 30 miles southeast of San Antonio.
Devin Kelley – who served in the Air Force before being thrown out for assaulting his family – attacked while worshippers gathered for Sunday service.
The mass shooting is the worst in Texas history.
The victims range from age five to 72 and include Annabelle Pomeroy, the 14-year-old daughter of the church’s pastor.
Crystal Holcombe was killed alongside three of her children and her in-laws, her cousin Nick Uhlig told the Houston Chronicle and Associated Press.
Twenty others were injured, including a six-year-old boy named Rylan who was in surgery after being shot four times, his uncle told CBS.
Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt said there was probably “no way” for people to escape once Kelley opened fire.
“He just walked down the centre aisle, turned around and my understanding was shooting on his way back out,” said Sheriff Tackitt.
“It’s unbelievable to see children, men and women, laying there. Defenceless people.”
As Kelley finished the massacre and tried to escape in his car, a neighbour opened fire and gave chase with another man.