The mass shooting at a Texas Church over the weekend in which 26 people were killed was “act of senseless violence,” Pope Francis has said in a condolence message on Tuesday in Rome.
In a message to a local Catholic archbishop, the pontiff stated that he was “deeply grieved by news of the loss of life and grave injuries caused by the act of senseless violence perpetrated at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.”
He prayed that Lord Jesus Christ consoled their loved ones and grant them spiritual strength to overcome the thought by the power of forgiveness and hope.
Twenty-six people were killed after a gunman opened fire during service at a Texas Church, the state’s Governor Greg Abbott said on Sunday.
The attack at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, was the “largest mass shooting in the state’s history,” Abbott said.
The gunman was seen at a gas station across from the Church at 11,20 a.m. (1720 GMT) dressed in black and wearing tactical gear before crossing the street and firing his weapon outside the Church, Freeman Martin of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said.
Martin said the gunman was pursued by local residents and was later found dead by police in his car.
It was unclear whether the gunman had killed himself or if he was shot by the pursuing citizen.
Local media identified the suspected gunman as Devin Kelley, 26, of nearby New Braunfels, Texas.
In 2012, Kelley, a former Air Force service member who was licenced to be a security guard, was court-martialled and convicted of domestic violence and he received a bad conduct discharge, the San Antonio Express-News reported, citing an Air Force spokeswoman.