Children, extended family members among U.S. church shooting victims

Children, extended family members among U.S. church shooting victims
A Teddy bear lies under police tape at a makeshift memorial for those killed in the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland, Texas, U.S., November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking


November 7(Reuters) – An 18-month-old child, a pregnant mother of five and three generations of a single family were among the victims of a gunman who opened fire on a church in a rural Texas community on Sunday, killing at least 26 people.


Up to 14 of those killed were children, Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt told NBC News on Monday.


The following describes some of the victims, as they were identified by family members and friends via media interviews and social media posts:




One couple, Joe and Claryce Holcombe, told the Washington Post they lost eight extended family members.


Bryan Holcombe, an associate pastor of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs where the shooting took place, was killed in the gunfire. His wife, Karla was also killed.


Bryan and Karla’s son, Marc Daniel Holcombe, was also killed with his infant child, Noah Holcombe.


Another son of Bryan and Karla, John Holcombe, survived, but his wife, Crystal Holcombe, who was pregnant, died with her unborn child and three of her children – Emily, Megan and Greg.


A GoFundMe page created for the Holcombe family had raised nearly $150,000 in the last 20 hours.




Joann Ward and her two daughters, Brooke, 5, and Emily, 7, were among other victims of the mass shooting.


Ward’s uncle, John Alexander, wrote on Facebook that she was “such a wonderful mother whose whole life was her children and family.”


During the attack, Ward was “shielding (her) babies from the shooter,” Vonda Greek Smith, a friend of Ward’s, said on Facebook.


Joann’s 5-year-old son Ryland was shot four times in the attack and flown by helicopter to University Hospital in San Antonio where he underwent surgery, according to the Dallas Morning News. Her 9-year-old daughter, Rihanna, survived.




Annabelle Pomeroy, 14, was among the first victims to be identified. Her father, Frank Pomeroy, the pastor of the First Baptist Church, was out of town with his wife when the gunman opened fire on his congregation.


Annabelle’s uncle, Scott Pomeroy, posted a tribute on Facebook, saying “Heaven truly gained a real beautiful angel this morning along with many more.”




Richard Rodriguez, 51, is also among the dead, according to ABC News. His daughter Regina, who posted a picture of herself with her father on her Facebook on Monday, said he attended church every Sunday.




Lula Woicinski White, 71, was the gunman’s grandmother-in-law, according to CNN, citing multiple friends of the victim.


White’s niece Amy Backus wrote on Facebook: “I have no doubt where she is right now. She is in Heaven laying her crowns and jewels at the feet of Jesus and celebrating.” Backus added: “I love and will miss you Aunt Lula Woicinski White.”




Tara Elyse McNulty was at the church on Sunday with her two children who were wounded but survived the attack, according to a GoFundMe page created by Amy Woodall who called McNulty, “a great employee.”


“She was conscientious, engaging, and always willing to do the little things. She was a sweet, kind and loving woman, mother and daughter and will be greatly missed by many,” Woodall wrote.




A couple from Michigan, Robert Corrigan and his wife, Shani, were among the people killed in the massacre, according to the Clare County Director of Veterans’ Services.


“This is a huge tragedy, not only for the family, for this small town,” Renee Haley, director of Veterans Services for Clare County, said in a statement.


The couple, who graduated from Harrison High School in Farmington Hills, Michigan, lived in Floresville, Texas, according to media reports.




Haley Krueger was “a beautiful, vibrant, 16 year old girl, and was excited about the bright future ahead of her. She loved babies, and had dreams of becoming a NICU nurse,” Tasha Niemann Wiatrek, a family friend, wrote on a GoFundMe page created for Krueger.


“In her mother’s words, ‘Haley loved life and was the most dramatic person,'” Wiatrek wrote.


Krueger’s GoFundMe page raised nearly $16,000 in the last 11 hours.