Law enforcement officials have identified the man who went on a shooting spree in a church in a small town in Texas as 26-year-old Devin Kelley.
The Pentagon revealed Kelley previously served in the U.S air force before allegedly opening fire in the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a small town outside of San Antonio, around 11:30am Sunday morning.
A brief statement confirmed he had been an airman "at one point", but details regarding his employment were not immediately available, AP reports.
The shooter reportedly got out of his vehicle at a gas station across the road and began firing from outside the church. He then moved to the right side of the church and fired, before entering the church and continuing to fire, local media reports.
Kelley was allegedly confronted by a local citizen who chased him from the scene with a rifle.
The reported number of victims is still fluctuating, but police confirmed to CBS News that so far there is believed to be 27 victims and over 20 injured.
"The details are kind of sketchy but what I know right now, what they're telling me, like 27 deceased and over 20, 25 injured," Police official Albert Gamez Jr told CBS News.
"They're talking about the shooter is dead also," he added.
The First Baptist Church Pastor Frank Pomeroy, who was out of town for the sermon, told ABC his 14-year-old daughter is among the dead, describing her as "one very beautiful, special child".
The shooting victims range from five to 72-years-old, Dallas Morning News reports.
The carnage may have been caught on camera as the church frequently live-streams its services, according to CNN.
The murderer was apparently shot after a brief chase into a neighbouring county but it remains unclear if the shooter was killed by an intervening citizen or if he took his own life, according to Guadalupe County Sheriff's Office spokesman Robert Murphy.
Carrie Matula, a witness to the shooting, told NBC News: "We heard semi-automatic gunfire… we're only about 50 yards away from this church."
"This is a very small community, so everyone was very curious as to what was going on."
The San Antonio branch of the FBI has said the gunman’s motives have not yet been ascertained and while only one shooter was reported, they are looking into other possibilities.
The shooting is reminiscent of the Charleston church shooting committed by white supremacist and domestic terrorist Dylann Roof, who opened fire on a Methodist church in South Carolina and killed nine.
Roof confessed to killing the churchgoers in an attempt to ignite a race war.
As has become customary in American shooting tragedies, politicians are tweeting their “thoughts and prayers” for the victims.
US President Donald Trump tweeted from Japan, saying: "May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement describing the shooting as a “horrific act”.
"I want to thank law enforcement for their response and ask that all Texans pray for the Sutherland Springs community during this time of mourning and loss."
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