The pastor of the Sutherland Springs church where a gunman killed 25 people says he plans on demolishing the church, according to USA Today.
Pastor Frank Pomeroy told leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention that Convention it would be too painful to continue using First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs as a place of worship following Sunday’s massacre.
“The pastor expressed his desire that perhaps the best way forward is to have the church demolished and replaced with a prayer garden,” convention spokesman Roger Oldham said. But Oldham added that parishioners haven’t “had a chance to fully deal with the grief and then come together to make a decision.”
Viewings for some of the victims will be held this weekend. The convention, through the North American Mission Board, has offered to cover funeral expenses for all the victims.
Pomeroy hopes he could turn the site into a memorial and build a new church on property the church owns.
Officials have not confirmed any Sutherland Springs shooting victim names, but dozens of family members are coming forward to claim their lost loved ones. Officials said in a press conference that the victim ages range from 18 months to 77 years old, according to our affiliate KABB in San Antonio.
- 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.
- Haley Kruegar, 16, was among those killed, according to her mother.
- Lula White, Kelley’s alleged grandmother-in-law, was also killed in the shooting, according to CNN. She volunteered at the church, according to friends and family on her Facebook page.
- Robert Corrigan and Shani Corrigan from Harrison, Michigan died in the shooting.