LA VERNIA, Texas (AP) — When gunfire tore through the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, the bullets claimed eight children and teenagers among the more than two dozen who were killed.
It was the largest number of children to die in a mass shooting since 20 perished at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
Like that massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, the fact that the assailant slaughtered defenseless children compounded the anguish. Nearby schools quickly added grief counselors.
One couple who survived the attack, Rosanne Solis and Joaquin Ramirez, say gunman Devin Patrick Kelley went aisle by aisle through the pews and shot crying babies at point-blank range.
The dead included the 14-year-old daughter of the church’s pastor and the unborn baby of a woman who was fatally shot.