Pastor plans to demolish Texas church after mass shooting

Friday November 10 2017

Texas church

Workers replace the bullet-scarred front door of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs on November 9, 2017 in Sutherland Springs, Texas. The pastor has said the church will be demolished. PHOTO | SCOTT OLSON | AFP 

By AFP
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SAN ANTONIO

The pastor of the Texas church that was the scene of the United States' latest mass shooting wants to demolish the building to create a memorial for the victims, an official said Thursday.

Pastor Frank Pomeroy, whose 14-year-old daughter Annabelle was among those killed Sunday at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs told national church governing officials of his wishes earlier this week.

Resuming services in the same small rural church building would be an "emotional and physical impossibility," Robert Oldham of the Southern Baptist Convention said.

"The church has not made a decision yet," he added. "The pastor was sort of projecting forward what he thinks may be of the best interest of the congregation."

Church officials were visiting the grieving pastor on Tuesday when he suggested a new church be built elsewhere, Oldham said.

Pomeroy was away traveling when Devin Kelley gunned down his congregation, killing 26, an official figure which included an unborn child, and wounding 20. Kelley later committed suicide, according to police.

"The church family has been devastated," Oldham said.

Southern Baptist churches nationwide have offered help and financial donations — while Vice President Mike Pence visited Sutherland Springs Wednesday night, attending a prayer service.

"I'm here as vice president to ensure that the full resources of the United States are brought to bear," Pence said.

"The American people are with you."