(Reuters) - An 18-month-old child, a pregnant mother of five and three generations of one family were among the victims of a gunman who opened fire in a church in a rural Texas community on Sunday, killing at least 26 people.
The attack ranks as the fifth deadliest by a single gunman in the United States.
The following are descriptions of some of the victims, who were identified by family members and friends in media interviews and social media posts:
One couple, Joe and Claryce Holcombe, lost eight extended family members, they told the Washington Post.
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 killed with his infant child, Noah.
Another son, John Holcombe, survived, but his wife, Crystal Holcombe, who was pregnant, died along with her unborn child and three of her children - Emily, Megan and Greg.
A GoFundMe page created for the Holcombe family has raised nearly $430,000 in the past day.
Joann Ward and her two daughters, Brooke, 5, and Emily, 7, also died in 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, said on Facebook.
Joann’s 5-year-old son Ryland was shot four times 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 First Baptist, and his wife, were out of town at the time of the shooting.
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 and his wife Theresa also died. Richard’s daughter, Regina, told reporters her father attended church every Sunday and was always the centre of attention.
The couple married in 2006 and were “amazing people” who loved their church and working in their garden, the daughter said.
She added that the loss of their grandfather had deeply affected her five children. “The oldest ones, they are the ones that are taking it hard,” she told CNN.
Lula Woicinski White, 71, was the gunman’s grandmother-in-law, according to CNN, citing multiple friends.
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. She died but her children 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 killed, 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 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 more than $17,000 in the last 23 hours.
A deeply religious couple, R. Scott Marshall and Karen Marshall, met while serving at North Carolina’s Seymour Johnson Air Force Base more than 32 years ago, his sister, Holly Hannum, told reporters.
“They lasted,” Hannum said. “They had kids, they traveled. They had a love that lasted over time.”
Dennis Johnson and his wife Sara were among those killed, his sister Sue Harris said on Facebook.
“Found out my brother Dennis and Sara was found inside the church. God called them home together,” she wrote.
“Thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers. Please continue to pray for all who lost loved ones. I do find comfort knowing Dennis and Sara are with the Lord.”
Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Tom Brown, Lisa Shumaker and Jeffrey Benkoe