Frank Pomeroy is one of the pastors at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
He and his wife, Sherri Pomeroy, were out of town when 26-year-old suspected shooter Devin Kelley opened fire inside the church, killing 26 and injuring at least 10 others.
According to a BuzzFeed News report, Kelley was once a member of the United States Air Force. He and his wife had a child together.
According to CNN, the victims of the mass shooting ranged from 5 to 72 years old.
One victim of the attack has been identified as Frank and Sherri’s youngest daughter, 14-year-old Annabelle Renee.
The grieving father told ABC News that his daughter “was one very beautiful, special child.”
Sherri told the Associated Press, via text:
We lost our 14-year-old daughter today and many friends. Neither of us have made it back into town yet to personally see the devastation.
She said she and her husband were in two different states during the time of the attack.
According to the AP, she said she is “trying to get home as soon as I can.”
It is believed that eight of the victims were all members of one family. A few of the women who passed away were reportedly pregnant.
Nick Uhlig, a member of the First Baptist Church, told the AP that while he was unable to attend service that Sunday morning, his cousin, who was expecting a child, was among those killed. He said of the church:
“We just gathered to bury their grandfather on Thursday. This is the only church here. We have Bible study, men’s Bible study, vacation Bible school.”
The attack is being considered the deadliest mass killing at a place of worship in modern U.S. history. A motive is still unknown; the investigation is ongoing.
According to Heavy, just a week before the shooting, Frank told the members of his church to “lean on the Lord” when things don’t go the way they’re supposed to. He reportedly said:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely, or lean, on your own understanding. You see God’s understanding is far greater and there may be things that are taking place that you don’t understand but you still need to do what God’s calling you to do.”
It is a message many people will need to turn to during this confusing and emotional time.