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Remembering the victims: Mourning those killed in Sutherland Springs church shooting

Bryan and Karla Holcombe. The couple was killed in the Sutherland Springs massacre. Their pregnant daughter, Crystal, and three of her children, were also killed, as were two more relatives. (Photo courtesy of family)

SAN ANTONIO (KABB/WOAI) - Investigators confirmed the bodies of 26 people killed in an ambush inside the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, were removed late Sunday night and early Monday morning.

Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt was back at the scene early Monday morning to meet with state and federal agents to continue the investigation into the ambush as family members mourn the dead. Just after sunrise, he told media outlets that several children and the visiting pastor were among the dead. He also said the gunman's inlaws attend the church, but were not inside at the time.

While authorities have yet to formally identify the victims, family and community members began to share their thoughts about some of the victims believed to have been killed.

  • Crystal Holcombe and her in-laws Karla and Bryan Holcombe died in Sunday's attack, according to cousin Nick Uhlig. Karla and Bryan's son Marc Daniel also died, according to the family. Marc's infant child was also killed in the attack. Crystal was eight months pregnant and had five children. Three of them died while two of them survived.
  • Annabelle Renee Pomeroy is the daughter of Pastor Frank Pomeroy. Pastor Pomeroy and his wife were not at the church at the time of the shooting, but they later confirmed to The Associated Press that Annabelle was in church and died from her injuries.
  • Family members of Emily Ward, 8, Brooke Ward, 5, and Joann Ward, their mother, said they also died. Ryland Ward, Joann's 5-year-old stepson, was shot five times, but survived. A fourth sibling, Rihanna, 9, was not hurt.

It's believed several of the victims were children. It's likely they attended schools within the Floresville Independent School District. District officials said they would make grief counselors available to students on Monday and some bus routes would be re-routed in the areas near the church.

Gov. Greg Abbott ordered Texas flags be lowered to half-staff through Thursday, Nov. 9.

"There are no words to describe the pure evil that we witnessed in Sutherland Springs today," said Abbott. "Our hearts are heavy at the anguish in this small town, but in time of tragedy, we see the very best of Texas. May God comfort those who've lost a loved one, and may God heal the hurt in our communities."

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