Officials speak out on church shooting

Officials React

Elected officials were quick to weigh in on Sunday’s mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. Here’s a sampling:

“I am horrified by the shooting that took the lives of at least 27 persons today and injured others in Sutherland Springs in Senate District 21. This tragedy was especially sickening because the victims included children and because it happened in a place that is meant to be a sanctuary—a place of worship. I join residents of Wilson County and our state in praying for the victims, their families, and the community and in thanking the law enforcement officers and first responders who risked their lives and rushed to the dangerous scene.

“Mass shootings like this one have become too common, and it is well past time for our country and state to do more to protect our families and our communities from gun violence and help prevent similar tragedies.

“What’s more, my family, staff, and I will help in any way possible. It is important that those impacted by mass shootings know they can reach out for support. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services operates a 24-7 bilingual disaster distress helpline (800-985-5990), which provides immediate crisis counseling to persons experiencing emotional distress after a traumatic event. The Red Cross operates a disaster assistance hotline (866-526-8300, Option 3) and is coordinating closely with local and state officials and community partners to help support the community and victims’ families. My staff also is available via 512-463-0121 to help connect SD 21 constituents with resources.

– State Senator Judith Zaffirini


“The thoughts and prayers of all Texans are with the people of Sutherland Springs as tragic reports come out of First Baptist Church. My office stands ready to assist local law enforcement as needed. Please join Angela and me as we pray for those impacted by this horrific shooting.” 

– Attorney General Ken Paxton


“While the details of this horrific act are still under investigation, Cecilia and I want to send our sincerest thoughts and prayers to all those who have been affected by this evil 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.”

– Governor Greg Abbott


“Once again gun violence destroys lives, while this Congress, owned lock, stock and barrel by the NRA refuses to act. The Las Vegas tragedy was the 272nd incident of mass gun violence in America this year. Today, the number has already climbed to 307. It was good to have Moms Demand Action at our successful town hall this weekend — determined not to let this horrible and unnecessary loss of life be ignored. 

– U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett


“I am heartbroken to hear that once again a place for peace and prayer became a scene of horror and fear. My heart is with the people of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, their families and friends, and the first responders who rushed to the scene.

“The alarming frequency with which we watch terrifying scenes unfold in our communities is devastating – and it’s not normal. Every single day, 93 Americans are killed with a gun in our country. In 2016, the number of gun deaths spiked to 38,000. Since the massacre in Las Vegas that took the lives of 58 people and injured hundreds more, there have been 33 mass shootings reported in America, in states like Maryland, Ohio, and California. Today’s shooting in Texas brings that number to 34.

“Churches, schools, and parks should always be safe spaces, where families and friends can gather without fear of violence. But that’s not the America we’re living in today. I am praying that our lawmakers find the courage to face our nation’s gun violence problem. We can build a safer future for our children, but preventing future tragedies requires a president who acknowledges our gun violence problem and members of Congress who will stand up to the gun lobby and take action to save lives. This must stop. The time for action is now.”

– U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords


“While many of the details are yet to be determined, clearly what happened today in Sutherland Springs is a horrific tragedy. I have spoken personally with Wilson County Sheriff Joe D. Tackitt Jr. and Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez Jr. and offered the full resources of my office to assist in any way possible both now and as we move forward. I have known and worked with the sheriff for many years. He is an outstanding sheriff and an outstanding individual. My job now is to make sure that he and the people of Sutherland Springs have access to every resource available to them, and I will make sure that they have everything they need.

“Sutherland Springs has a special place in my heart. It is one of those unique communities where everyone knows everyone else and supports each other. I can recall local fundraisers at the volunteer fire department where basically everyone in the entire area would come out to support those volunteers. We hold monthly neighborhood office hours in Sutherland Springs to make sure that we stay connected to the community as closely as possible.

“The people of Sutherland Springs are as fine an example of Texans and Americans as you will find anywhere in the country. My staff and I have always been there for Wilson County and Sutherland Springs, and we will continue to be there for them as we get through this tragedy together.”

– U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar


“We, like the rest of our community, were horrified to learn of the tragedy in Sutherland Springs at the First Baptist Church. We are keeping everyone impacted by this malicious act in our thoughts and our prayers.

“Devin Patrick Kelley worked briefly – 5 1/2 weeks – this summer at Schlitterbahn New Braunfels as a seasonal unarmed night security guard. His employment was terminated in July.

“All our security guards must pass a criminal background check through the Texas Department of Public Safety.”

– Statement from Schlitterbahn, where Kelly worked last summer

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666