More than 100 people along with Texas Governor Greg Abbott gathered on Sunday evening (5 November) for a prayer vigil near Baptist church where 26 people were killed in a mass shooting on Sunday morning.
The governor who travelled to Sutherland Springs told people to come together in mourning, ABC news website reported. People lit candles for the victims of the shooting.
"Put your arm around your kid and let them know we love them," Abbott was quoted as saying by ABC website.
"Tell your friend and your neighbor that you support them and you will work with them."
Mike Gonzales, who lives nearby, told the ABC-affiliated KSAT news website, "The people of this church are wonderful people. We're coming together to pray for them and show the world that now, in the midst of darkness, there is light."
The shooting is said to be the worst mass shooting in Texas history. The San Antonio branch of the FBI said it had deployed agents to the scene. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is also sending field agents from its Houston and San Antonio offices, ATF spokeswoman Mary Markos told the AP.
"We can confirm 26 lives lost. We don't know if that number will rise or not, but we know that's too many," the governor said during a news conference.
Witnesses told local media that a man walked into First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, around 40 miles east of San Antonio and began shooting around 11.30am local time (5.30pm GMT), KSAT reported.
Those killed in the shooting ranged in age from five to 72, according to the regional director of the Department of Public Safety, Freeman Martin.
"The details are kind of sketchy, but what I know right now, what they're telling me, like 27 deceased and over 20, 25 injured," Wilson County commissioner Albert Gamez Jr said, according to the BBC. He confirmed that the suspected shooter Devin Patrick Kelley, of New Braunfels, was also dead.
Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt told ABC that with just two gas stations, one post office and a population of about 643 people, Sutherland Springs was too tiny to be incorporated as a city.
Sutherland Springs is so small that it does not have its own police force and all its social activity is centred around its two churches, Sheriff Tackitt said.
"It's something we all say does not happen in small communities, but we found out today that it does," he added.
"Most people go to a small town to get away from stuff like that. That's why they come here. They never expected that to happen, not in a million years," said Chris Speer, 33, who works as a clerk at the gas station a block from the church.
"We are holding up as well as we can. We are a strong community. We are strong in our faith and strong in believing that anyone that was killed in the church there is present with our Lord," Paul Buford, pastor of River Oaks Church, the other house of worship in Sutherland Springs said.