Frank Pomeroy, the pastor of Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church where 26-year-old Devin Kelley opened fire and took 26 lives, is considering demolishing the church. According to Reuters, the pastor’s 14-year-old daughter was killed in the shooting.
Pomeroy, who was out of town with his wife, Sherri, during the shooting, “expressed his desire to raze the building,” Southern Baptist Convention spokesman Roger Oldham recently told Reuters. In its place, a memorial garden will possibly be planted.
A memorial service is also scheduled to take place behind a small community center near the church. The service will take place to “show the world that we may be knocked down temporarily but WE ARE NOT DEFEATED,” Sherri wrote on Facebook on Thursday. “Please come help us honor their lives doing what they died for: worshipping our sovereign God!”
Kelley, who was reportedly pursued by a local resident with Kelley’s gun after he exited the church after the shooting on November 5, was later found dead inside of his vehicle. Authorities say Kelley died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head and “was embroiled in a domestic dispute involving the parents of his second wife.” 71-year-old Lula Woicinski White, who was reportedly Kelley’s grandmother-in-law, was also killed during the massacre.
Shortly after the shooting, President Trump responded from Tokyo, calling the tragedy a “horrific shooting” and an “act of evil.”
“Victims and their families were in their sacred place of worship,” he stated. “We cannot put into words the pain and grief we all feel. In dark times such as these, Americans do we what do best and we pull together. We lock hands and we joins arms. Through the tears and through the sadness we stand strong.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbot called the attack the deadliest mass shooting in Texas’ history, according to CBS News.