Texas town holds first service since church attack

Photo: First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas / Facebook
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SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas (AP) - In the latest news on the Texas town recovering from last weekend's mass shooting at a local church, the pastor of a small Texas church said evil was responsible for the worst mass shooting in the state's history.

12:40 p.m.

Frank Pomeroy spoke during the congregation's first Sunday service since last weekend's shooting that killed more than two-dozen people at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.

Pomeroy said he wanted to ensure everyone who walked in to the service "knows that those who died lived for their Lord and savior." He says rather than chose darkness as the gunman did seven days ago, "we choose life."

The congregation held the service at a baseball field, setting up folding chairs under a large white tent.

Pomeroy's voice cracked as he paused, and described the victims as "my best friends and my daughter."

Then he wiped his eyes before saying: "I guarantee they are dancing with Jesus today."

The crowd stood, clapped and raised their hands to heaven.

11:10 a.m.

Organizers have set up hundreds of folding chairs under a large white tent on the baseball field in Sutherland Springs, Texas, for the first Sunday service since last weekend's mass shooting at the First Baptist Church.

The front three rows are reserved for First Baptist Church members and their families, as a steady rain falls on the tarp roof while church-goers slowly file in. Some are hugging and others are praying or sitting quietly.

People from other churches have dropped off handmade presents such as prayer cloths and tiny wooden crosses and mental health organizations have provided tissues and brought therapy dogs to the service.

Initial plans called for gathering at a community center that could house a few dozen people. But when organizers realized about 500 people were planning to attend, the service was moved outside.