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Pastor: Church in Texas Shooting May Not Reopen


FILE - Bullet holes were marked by police at the front of the building as law enforcement officials continue to investigate the scene of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Nov. 7, 2017.

The Texas church where a gunman opened fire during Sunday services, killing 26 and injuring 20, may not reopen.

Pastor Frank Pomeroy of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs told leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention earlier this week that it would be too painful to continue using the church as a place of worship.

Pomeroy, who lost his own 14-year-old daughter in the massacre, proposed turning the site into a memorial and building another church on a different site.

FILE - Pastor Frank Pomeroy, with his wife Sherri, listens at a news conference outside the site of the shooting at his church, the First Baptist Church of Sutherland, Texas, Nov. 6, 2017.
FILE - Pastor Frank Pomeroy, with his wife Sherri, listens at a news conference outside the site of the shooting at his church, the First Baptist Church of Sutherland, Texas, Nov. 6, 2017.

The final decision on the fate of the building will be made by the denomination's top leaders, who traveled to the rural community in a show of support. But a national Southern Baptist spokesman said the pastor's wishes will be taken into consideration.

Other sites of mass shootings have been torn down, including Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults in December 2012. A new school was built elsewhere.

A one-room Amish schoolhouse near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was torn down in 2006, 10 days after an assailant took children hostage and shot and killed five girls ages 6 to 13. The original site of the school is now a pasture. A nearly identical schoolhouse with a security fence was erected nearby.

Gunman's father speaks

Also Thursday, the father of the Texas gunman broke his silence to say his family is in mourning.

Michael Kelley spoke to ABC News on Wednesday from his home in New Braunfels, about 55 kilometers north of Sutherland Springs.

He refused to comment further, saying he does not want the "media circus'' surrounding the attack by Devin Patrick Kelley to destroy "our lives, our grandchildren's lives.''

A motive for the carnage remains unclear, but the younger Kelley appears to have targeted the church because it was attended by his wife's family. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after being shot and chased by two residents as he was leaving the church.

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