SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas (WJZ/CNN/AP) — Texas church gunman Devin Kelley killed his grandmother-in-law, Lula White, in the massacre Sunday, multiple friends told CNN.
White was the grandmother of Kelley’s wife and volunteered frequently at the church, according to friends and her Facebook profile. The friends asked not to be named as the family has decided to not speak to the media about White’s death at this time, though a few have posted on social media.
The gunman who killed 26 people at a Texas church had sent threatening texts to his mother-in-law — who attended the church he targeted, authorities said Monday.
Devin Patrick Kelley had domestic problems and texted his mother-in-law as recently as Sunday morning, not long before he carried out the largest mass shooting in Texas history.
“We know that he expressed anger towards his mother-in-law, who attends this church,” said Freeman Martin of Texas’ Department of Public Safety.
But his mother-in-law was not inside the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs when Kelley sprayed the congregation with gunfire. The youngest killed was a 17-month-old girl, her family told CNN. The oldest was 77 years old, Martin said.
Among the dead were eight members of the same family.
A mother’s pride had lit up Crystal Holcombe’s Facebook page. Daughters Emily and Megan had finished third and first in their respective categories in a 4-H bakeoff and displayed their handiwork in posted photos. But on Sunday afternoon, the page went grim.
“Keep the Holcombe family in your prayers,” a friend posted.
Crystal Holcombe, who was eight months pregnant, was killed, according to her cousin, Nick Uhlig.
Uhlig told The Associated Press that Holcombe’s in-laws were killed, and he told the Houston Chronicle that three of Holcombe’s children also died.
“She doesn’t even drink, smoke or nothing,” he told the newspaper. “She just takes care of kids; she raises goats and makes homemade cheese. That kind of thing, you know? They don’t go out dancing or anything like that. They’re real old-fashioned, down-to-earth.”
The father-in-law, Bryan Holcombe, had done prison ministry, Uhlig said. “He would go up to the prison with a ukulele to sing.”
One local man, 68-year-old Earl Good, told the San Antonio Express-News that a good friend had lost eight relatives in the shooting. It’s not clear whether the Holcombes were that family.
Another victim was 14-year-old Annabelle Pomeroy, daughter of the church’s pastor, Frank Pomeroy. Both he and his wife were out of town, in different states, on Sunday.
“Heaven truly gained a real beautiful angel this morning along with many more,” the girl’s uncle, Scott Pomeroy, lamented on his Facebook page, posting a picture of the smiling girl poolside in a bathing suit. All those robbed of life in Sunday’s bloodbath, he wrote, “have taken their last breath of dirty air and took their first breath of heavenly air with new bodies with no pain and suffering.”
Another of those killed was the 13-year-old goddaughter of Amanda Mosel, she told the Express-News.
Hank Summers, a local who had moved to San Antonio, told the AP via text message that his uncle, David Colbath, survived five gunshots that required extensive surgery and skin grafts to save an arm.
Sutherland Springs is a tiny town where everyone knows each other, said L.G. Moore, who runs the Holiday RV Park, which is ¼ mile from the church.
Everyone in town was apt to know someone who was killed, he ventured.
“They say the population is 400 and that’s if you count every dog, cat and armadillo. It’s more like 200 people,” the 75-year-old Moore said by phone.
(TM and Copyright 2017 CBS and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)