Among the deceased are members of three generations of the Holcombe family. Eight family members, including an unborn child, were tragically killed.
Joe, head of the Holcombe clan, as The Washington Post reported, lost “children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and a future great-grandchild.”
Joe’s son, Bryan Holcombe, and his wife of four decades, Karla, both lost their lives in the gunfire.
They had two sons, Marc and John, who were also in attendance at the Texas church. Marc, 36, and his infant daughter perished alongside Bryan and Karla. John, however, was able to escape the massacre.
John’s pregnant wife, Crystal Holcombe, was not as fortunate. She and three of their young children were killed in the attack. John and their two remaining children survived, alongside Joe and Claryce Holcombe, who heard the tragic news through a phone call an hour after the fact.
The Holcombe family was heavily involved with their church. Bryan was an associate pastor for the church. He was filling in that day for the lead pastor who was out of town. Of his son, Joe told The Washington Post:
“We knew when he was born, that he was going to be a preacher. His first word was God.”
John Holcombe teaches Sunday school at the church, and his wife was deeply involved. Crystal, who home-schooled her five children, was described as a “fantastic” parent who raised a “happy family.”
“[D]oesn’t even drink, smoke or nothing. She just takes care of kids, she raises goats and makes homemade cheese. That kind of thing. They don’t go out dancing or anything like that. They’re real old-fashioned, down-to-earth.”
Joe and Claryce opened their home to a group of pastors and churchgoers after the attack to wait for details and pray together. Joe acknowledged that the coming days will be “difficult,” but he told The Washington Post:
“[W]e are Christians, we have read the book. We know the ending, and it’s good.”
He added: “They’re in heaven. And they’re a lot better off than we are.”