Texas church shooting leaves at least 26 dead

At least 26 people have been killed after a gunman opened fire at a church during Sunday services, officials say.

The attack happened at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a small town in Wilson County, Texas.

The gunman, who is reported to have been killed in the aftermath, entered the church and opened fire at around 11:30 local time (17:30 GMT).

Governor Greg Abbott confirmed the death toll and said it was the worst mass shooting in the history of Texas.”This will be a long suffering mourning for those in pain,” he said at a news conference on Sunday.

Sheriff Joe Tackitt said authorities do not know the names of any of the victims yet as they continue to work the crime scene. Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Freeman Martin described the suspect as a young white male in his early 20s, dressed in all black and wearing a ballistic vest.

He began shooting outside the church before he entered and opened fire, Mr Martin said. A local citizen “grabbed his rifle and began shooting” at the suspect, before the gunman fled in a car.

The citizen pursued the suspect, who drove off the the road and crashed his car at the Guadalupe County line. Police found the suspect dead in his car, but it is unclear if he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound or from returned fire from the citizen, Mr Martin added.