Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wrote in a statement: “Our hearts are with the victims and the families of those killed or injured in this terrible tragedy. I am grateful for the law enforcement officers who apprehended the suspect, and I ask Texans to join Cecilia and me in praying for those affected by this horrific shooting. The State of Texas is working closely with first responders and local officials to ensure that justice is served and that the Starrville community has the resources it needs during this time.”
The Smith County Sheriff’s Office told KLTV-TV that there was a shooting at the Starrville Methodist Church in Winona, Texas.
According to local reports, the suspect was found by the pastor in the church bathroom holding a red bank bag belonging to the church. The pastor drew his gun on the suspect and asked them to stop, but the suspect was able to wrestle the gun off the pastor, who was then fatally shot.
The identity of a suspect and the motive were not provided.
Smith County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Larry Christian told CNN that the suspect was later taken into custody after a two-hour manhunt after stealing a car to flee the crime scene.
The case is to be investigated as capital murder by the Smith County District Attorney’s Office, Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith said.
Christian told The Associated Press that there were no services going on when the shooting took place. Deputies were called to the church about a shooting after 9 a.m. local time, he said.
Winona is located east of Dallas and northeast of Tyler, Texas.