It’s still very early, of course.
But right now it looks like last Sunday’s killing rampage during religious services in Sutherland Springs, Texas, will also claim the life of the small, clapboard church itself.
Twenty-six people, including an unborn child and nine other children, were gunned down at the First Baptist Church in Texas’ worst mass shooting. Another 20 worshipers were injured, some seriously.
So deep and raw remain the emotional wounds from that Sabbath shooting that Pastor Frank Pomeroy, who lost his own 14-year-old daughter Annabelle, has told Southern Baptist Convention leaders that any further services in that bullet-riddled church would be too painful for survivors to endure. The structure was shot up with hundreds of rounds both from inside and outside. The church had less than 100 members before the attack.
“There’s too many that do not want to go back in there,” Pomeroy told the Wall Street Journal. “We will probably turn it into a memorial for a while. We’re playing it day by day right now.”
Pomeroy is resisting suggestions that the congregation simply disband. He said he expects to demolish the church and turn it into a prayer garden, at least temporarily. Services this weekend are scheduled for a nearby community center and other area churches are helping to organize.
Pomeroy added, “I want to get through all the funerals before I do anything.”