Frank Pomeroy, the Texas pastor whose 14-year-old daughter was among those killed when gunman Devin Kelley opened fire on the small church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, urged his congregation to lean on their faith amidst the devastation.
"I would submit this to everyone - my families here and you guys there - whatever life brings to you, lean on the Lord rather than your own understanding," Frank Pomeroy, who pastored the church for 15 years, said on Monday. "I don't understand, but I know my God does."
Pastor Frank Pomeroy was out of town when he got the news his 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle, was among 26 people killed in the mass shooting at the First Baptist Church.
His wife, Sherri Pomeroy, said she and her husband flew back from Florida after hearing about the attack, and had spent a long night with their children and grandchildren processing the shooting.
"With as much tragedy as that entails for our family, we don't want to overshadow the other lives lost yesterday," said Sherri Pomeroy said. "We lost more than Belle yesterday - and one thing that gives me a sliver of encouragement is the fact that Belle was surrounded yesterday by her church family that she loved fiercely and vice versa."
"Our church was not comprised of members or parishioners, we were a very close family," she added. "We ate together, we laughed together, we cried together and we worshiped together. Now, most of our church family is gone - our building is probably beyond repair, and the few of us that are left behind lost tragically yesterday."
According to officials, Kelley, 26, entered the sanctuary with a rifle, and began indiscriminately shooting, leaving dozens dead and at least 20 others wounded. He was first shot by an armed resident who confronted the gunman outside the church and shot him. The suspect then turned the gun on himself, and was later found dead in his vehicle.
At a news briefing, Freeman Martin of the Texas Department of Public Safety said that while the gunman's mother-in-law had attended the church, she was not there Sunday when the shooting occurred.
"There was a domestic situation going on within the family and the in-laws," he said.
Those killed ranged in age from 5 to 72, Martin said, adding that another 20 people were wounded at the church, 10 of whom remained in critical condition Monday.