The Texas church gunman targeted frightened children and babies, shooting them as punishment for crying, according to survivors of the massacre.
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According to the New York Daily News, Devin Kelley walked into the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs on Sunday yelling, “Everybody is going to die, [expletive]!" before fatally shooting 26 people, including children. He specifically went after children who cried or begged for help as he continued to fire off shots, one couple said.
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“When the children cried next to their mothers, he would return to shoot them more,” survivor Joaquin Ramirez, 50, recalled. “He had more hatred toward the children because they cried.”
Ramirez and his girlfriend, Rosanne Solis, 52, said they were seated near the back of the church when Kelley ambushed the congregation. They both hid underneath the pews and pretended they were already dead in order to avoid being killed. As the shooter sprayed bullets into the crowd of churchgoers, he became impatient with those who couldn’t hide their fear, especially children.
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When "the babies were crying," Kelley punished them with gunfire, Ramirez said, according to the New York Post.
Ramirez added that he held a finger to his lips in effort to silence 14-year-old victim Annabelle Pomeroy, the pastor’s daughter, who had cried for help just as Kelley began to leave the church thinking everyone was dead.
“The pastor’s daughter cried again and he walked back to the front to shoot her. As I was crawling out I looked at the child. She was dead," Ramirez said.
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Ramirez was able to crawl out of the building unnoticed as Kelley turned on the guitar players. Once he escaped, he called 911. He and Solis then drove themselves to the hospital with Solis suffering from a gunshot wound to her shoulder and Ramirez having been hit by shrapnel. The couple is still shaken by Kelley’s cold-hearted treatment of the children and babies.
“It was horrible to see him shoot children and not being able to help them,” Solis said. “I don’t know how we survived.”