The United States was in mourning Monday after a gunman wearing a bulletproof vest opened fire with an assault rifle on the congregation of a smalltown Texas church, killing 26 people and wounding 20 more in the nation’s latest shooting massacre.
Five weeks after the worst shooting in modern US history President Donald Trump said the nation was living in “dark times,” and ordered flags be flown half-staff at the White House and federal buildings in the aftermath of the most recent tragedy.
The victims, who ranged in age from five to 72, were gunned down at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a rural community of some 400 people located 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of San Antonio.
The gunman, widely identified as Devin Kelley, 26, was described by authorities as a “young white male” who was found dead in his vehicle after being confronted by a local resident.
The Air Force said Kelley served at a base in New Mexico starting in 2010 before being court-martialed in 2012 for allegedly assaulting his wife and child.
He was sentenced to 12 months in confinement and received a “bad conduct” discharge, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told AFP. He was discharged in 2014.
Wearing all black, he fired outside the church before entering the building and continuing to spray bullets, said Freeman Martin, regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.