The wife of the pastor at the Texas church where 26 people were killed Sunday gave an emotional statement about losing her daughter and fellow congregants she considered family in one of the worst mass shootings in United States history, and the worst ever carried out on a house of worship.
Sherri and Frank Pomeroy’s 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle, was one of the victims of the Sutherland Springs shooting, which claimed more than two dozen lives and injured at least 20 others. Both Frank — the First Baptist Church pastor — and Sherri Pomeroy were out of town during the attack.
The shooter, identified by law enforcement officials as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, was shot by a neighbor as he exited the church following his rampage. He shot himself as he fled the scene in his vehicle and was found dead after crashing, officials said. His cause of death was not yet clear.
“Frank and I want to say thank you to all the outpouring of love for our family from family friends and complete strangers,” said Sherri Pomeroy at the close of a press conference with local law enforcement. “I especially wanted to say thank you to American Airlines who took great care of me all the way from Florida and my angel flight buddy, Chris, wherever you are. News media have been bombarding us with requests to share and comment and appear to celebrate Annabelle’s life, however as much tragedy as that entails for our family, we don’t want to overshadow the other lives lost yesterday.”
“We lost more than Belle yesterday,” continued Pomeroy. “One thing that gives me a sliver of encouragement is the fact that Belle was surrounded yesterday by her church family that she loved fiercely, and vice-versa. Our church was not comprised of members or parishioners, we were a very close family. We ate together, we laughed together, we cried together and worshiped together. Now most of our church family is gone, our building probably beyond repair and the few of us that are left behind lost tragically yesterday. As senseless as this tragedy was, our sweet Belle would not have been able to deal with losing so much family yesterday. Please don’t forget Sutherland Springs. Thank you.”
“We had a long night with our children and grandbabies we have left,” said Frank Pomeroy, choking up as he introduced his wife before her emotional remarks.
First Baptist Church is located in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a community 30 miles southeast of San Antonio.
Read more from Yahoo News:
- Online sermons give glimpse into close community of Sutherland Springs church
- Obama is sending this letter to people who ask him about the state of the country
- ‘Are you kidding me?’: Terror expert reacts to president’s Gitmo idea
- In the hands of Trump, the past is a political weapon
- Photos: Deadly mass shooting at Sutherland Springs, Texas, church