At least 26 people were killed and about 20 were wounded when gunman Devin Kelley opened fire inside First Baptist Church in Texas during a Sunday service, authorities say. The shooter was chased down by town residents and was found dead after a crash, according to police. A motive for the attack is not known at this time, though authorities have said the shooter “expressed anger” towards at least his mother-in-law, who belonged to the church.
In an excruciatingly tragic turn of events, John Holcombe lost nine relatives. John, who was wounded in the attack, lost his pregnant wife, Crystal Holcombe, four of his children, Emily, Greg, Megan and the couple’s unborn child, his brother, Marc Holcombe, his parents, Karla and Bryan Holcombe, as well as his niece, Noah.
John taught Sunday school and also ran audio for Sunday worship services at the church. He suffered an injury to his leg when he was struck with sharpnel, the Washington Post reported.
In addition, John’s other two children were wounded, including a 3-year-old whom was shot.
On Halloween, just days before the horrifying tragedy would take place, Crystal shared a post from the church celebrating “Fall Festival 2017.” The mother’s Facebook page is filled with photos that show a woman whose life revolved around that of her family and friends.
John’s brother, Marc Daniel Holcombe, 36, died in the shooting along with his 17-month-old daughter, Noah, CNN reported. Holcombe, who went by Danny, was at the church with his parents and other family, including his brother, sister-in-law, nieces and nephews.
Bryan and Karla Holcombe, John’s parents, were also among those killed in the shooting.
Karla Plain Holcombe, a 58-year-old retired mother of four, grandmother and Sunday School teacher, was killed in the shooting, her friend, Jenna Brown, told The Daily Beast.
Bryan Holcombe, 60, was also killed, their son, Scott Holcombe, told the New York Times. “I’m dumbfounded. This is unimaginable. My father was a good man and he loved to preach. He had a good heart,” he said. He was filling in as pastor with Frank Pomeroy out of town.
Joe Holcombe, 86, Bryan’s father, was also left to mourn the unimaginable number of losses. “We know where they are now,” he said in an interview with the New York Times. “All of our family members, they’re all Christian. And it won’t be long until we’re with them.”
Sarah Slavin, the Holcombes daughter, told the Times, “They weren’t afraid of death. They had a strong faith, so there’s comfort in that. I feel like my parents, especially my mom, wasn’t scared.”
Here’s How You Can Help
A GoFundMe page has been put together to help the Holcombe family, and was made on behalf of Sarah Holcombe Slavin.
“Let’s get together and help the Holcombe family take care of the multiple family members they’ve lost at the Texas Church Shooting on November 5th,” the donation page reads. “We are putting this together on behalf of Sarah Holcombe Slavin, who has lost half of her large family.”
You can click here to donate to the beautiful family whose suffering is impossible to fathom.