‘Be quiet! It’s him!’ Survivors say shooter walked pew by pew looking for people to shoot

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‘Be quiet! It’s him!’ Survivors say shooter walked pew by pew looking for people to shoot
Law enforcement officials and forensic experts gather at the scene. Hide Caption 8 of 15 Emergency personnel seal off the scene of the mass shooting. Photos: Sutherland Springs church shooting Emergency personnel seal off the scene of the mass shooting. Hide Caption 9 of 15 Law enforcement officers man a barricade near the church. Photos: Sutherland Springs church shooting Law enforcement officers man a barricade near the church. Hide Caption 10 of 15 Carrie Matula embraces a woman after the shooting. Matula said she heard the shooting from the gas station where she works across the street. Photos: Sutherland Springs church shooting Carrie Matula embraces a woman after the shooting. Matula said she heard the shooting from the gas station where she works across the street. Hide Caption 11 of 15 Law enforcement officials work the shooting scene. Photos: Sutherland Springs church shooting Law enforcement officials work the shooting scene. Hide Caption 12 of 15 A woman prays with a man after the shooting. Photos: Sutherland Springs church shooting A woman prays with a man after the shooting. Hide Caption 13 of 15 The FBI responded to the scene of the shooting, according to Michelle Lee, spokeswoman for the FBI's San Antonio field office. Photos: Sutherland Springs church shooting The FBI responded to the scene of the shooting, according to Michelle Lee, spokeswoman for the FBI's San Antonio field office. Hide Caption 14 of 15 "My heart is broken," said Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez Jr. "We never think where it can happen, and it does happen. It doesn't matter where you're at. In a small community, real quiet and everything, and look at this, what can happen." Photos: Sutherland Springs church shooting "My heart is broken," said Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez Jr. "We never think where it can happen, and it does happen. It doesn't matter where you're at. In a small community, real quiet and everything, and look at this, what can happen." Hide Caption 15 of 15 Investigators work at the scene of a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday, November 5. A man opened fire inside the small community church, killing at least 26 people. Photos: Sutherland Springs church shooting Investigators work at the scene of a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday, November 5. A man opened fire inside the small community church, killing at least 26 people.
Photo: Sutherland Springs church shooting Investigators work at the scene of a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday, November 5. A man opened fire inside the small community church, killing at least 26 people.

(CNN) – The carnage started even before the gunman entered the church.

It was a gorgeous day in Sutherland Springs, and worshipers at First Baptist Church were singing the praises of Christ. Suddenly, the joyous prayers were drowned out by screams of terror.

“Out of nowhere, shots started coming through the windows,” said David Brown, whose mother was sitting in the back pew. “Windows broke out. Shots were flying.”

The gunman started unloading his 450 rounds of ammo from outside, targeting the congregation of about 50 people.

Then came the killer — dressed in tactical gear and armed with an assault rifle as he stormed in through the front door of the small Texas church.

Roseanne Solis was sitting near the entrance.

“Everybody started screaming, yelling,” Solis told CNN affiliate KSAT. “Everybody got down, crawling under wherever they could hide. He was shooting hard.”

Solis dropped to the ground but was struck in the left arm. “I could feel the gunshots. I saw them on the carpet,” she said. “I could see the gunshots coming down.”

Brown said his mother recalled the gunman walking up and down the aisles several times.

“She stayed on the ground the whole time — never saw him, just saw his boots as he walked around the church,” Brown said.

At one point, the shooting stopped. From the ground, Solis saw a man’s feet walk by and thought maybe the police had arrived.

But it was the killer, walking pew by pew, looking for more survivors to shoot.

“Everybody was saying, ‘Be quiet! it’s him, it’s him!'” Solis said.

Not everyone could keep quiet. Young children in the church couldn’t stop crying, said Solis’ husband, Joaquin Ramirez. So the gunman found the children and shot them point-blank.

As the massacre continued, Ramirez made eye contact with Annabelle Pomeroy — the 14-year-old daughter of the church’s pastor. She was crying for help, Ramirez told KSAT.

Realizing Annabelle might get shot, Ramirez motioned with his finger for stay quiet. It didn’t work. Annabelle was killed.

The gunman eventually made his way to the back pew, where Brown’s mother was hiding, “and started shooting the lady next to her multiple times,” Brown said.

Brown’s mother was certain she would be next, “and her life was about to end.”

“Then somebody with a gun showed up at the front of the church (and) caught the shooter’s attention,” Brown said. “And he left, and that was the end of the ordeal.”

The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office arrived four minutes after the first 911 call, the Texas Department of Public Safety said.

By the end of the massacre, 26 people were dead, including eight members of the same family and the gunman’s own grandmother-in-law.

Ramirez and Solis survived by playing dead.

 

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