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8 members of single family among 26 killed in Texas church massacre

Published: Monday, November 06, 2017 @ 1:46 PM

VIDEO: Mass Shooting at Texas Church

The deadliest mass shooting in Texas history wiped out eight members of the same family on Sunday, with the killings spanning three generations.

Accused gunman Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs just as associate pastor Bryan Holcombe approached the pulpit, according to the Washington Post. Sutherland Springs is a small community about 30 miles outside of San Antonio.

Holcombe was killed in the spray of rifle fire, his parents, Joe and Claryce Holcombe, told the Post. So was his wife of about 40 years, Karla Holcombe.

One of the couple’s sons, Scott Holcombe, spoke to the New York Times Sunday night as he and his sister, Sarah Slavin, sat outside a hospital emergency room.

“This is unimaginable,” Scott Holcombe, 30, said. “My father was a good man, and he loved to preach. He had a good heart.”

Joe Holcombe told the Post that faith was in his son’s heart from the beginning.

“We knew when he was born, that he was going to be a preacher,” the 86-year-old retired teacher said. “His first word was ‘God.’”

Texas church shooting: Latest news, updates

Bryan Holcombe was filling in Sunday for First Baptist’s head pastor, Frank Pomeroy, who was out of town when the shooting occurred. Pomeroy’s own 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle, was also killed in the gunfire. 

The Post identified the other slain Holcombe family members as:

  • Marc Daniel Holcombe, Bryan and Karla Holcombe’s 36-year-old son;
  • Noah Holcombe, Marc Holcombe’s 1-year-old daughter;
  • Crystal Holcombe, the pregnant wife of another Holcombe son, John Holcombe;
  • Three of Crystal Holcombe’s five children, Emily, Megan and Greg. Her two other children were at the church, but survived the shooting.

John Holcombe, who the Post reported teaches Sunday school at First Baptist, was injured by shrapnel. One of his daughters remained hospitalized Sunday night for injuries she suffered when someone fell on her in the chaos of the shooting.

Joe Holcombe described learning about the shooting from a friend about an hour after it took place. Initially, details of the massacre were scarce.

It was Pomeroy who broke the tragic news, the Post said.

“Bryan and Karla?” Joe Holcombe recalled asking.

“They’re both in heaven,” Pomeroy responded. 

As the day wore on, Joe Holcombe and his wife learned the extent of the shooting’s toll on their family. He said that while the losses will be difficult, as Christians, he and his wife “have read the book.”

“We know the ending, and it’s good,” Joe Holcombe told the Post. “They’re in heaven, and they’re a lot better off than we are.” 

The deceased family members’ various social media profiles offer visitors a blend of church and family. Bryan and Karla Holcombe’s Facebook pages are filled with photos of their children and grandchildren. 

“Grandkids. It doesn’t get any better,” Bryan Holcombe wrote under a photo of 11 of his grandchildren. “I’ll wake up at night and, in prayer, thank God for each of them. 

“It takes a while,” he joked.

Bryan Holcombe’s page also boasts photos of the couple, who were high school sweethearts. In some photos, they are dressed in costume for church events.

In others, Bryan Holcombe strums a ukulele, which relatives said the associate pastor would play, and sing along to, for prison inmates.

Crystal Holcombe, who homeschooled her children, also boasted about her young family online. In a post written the night before she, Emily, Megan and Greg were slain, she praised the girls for their hard work at their first 4-H food show that day, where Megan won a first-place ribbon, and Emily, a third-place ribbon.  

“They’ve worked hard and learned so much. I’m very proud of them both,” Crystal Holcombe wrote. “It was a new experience for them, but they did so well.”

According to posts on her Facebook page, Crystal Holcombe and her children died three days after her family buried her grandfather. 

The Holcombe family members were among 26 people killed, ranging in age from 18 months to 77 years, when Kelley started shooting around 11:20 a.m. Sunday, about 20 minutes into the weekly church service. The shooting began outside, where two of the victims were found, the Times reported

Kelley, wearing all-black tactical gear and armed with a military-style rifle, then went inside.

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The U.S. Air Force veteran, who was court-martialed in 2012 for domestic violence against his wife and child, fired at nearby residents as he left the church, the Times reported. One neighbor fired back with a rifle, apparently striking Kelley before the gunman fled.

Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt said Monday that Kelley called his father from his cellphone while fleeing the church and told him he’d been shot, the Times reported. The armed bystander and another man were chasing Kelley and talking to 911 dispatchers. 

Kelley was later found dead in his vehicle, which he crashed in a neighboring county, the Times said. He had a self-inflicted gunshot wound, but it was not yet clear Monday morning whether he died of the bullet wound or of injuries suffered in the crash. 

Tackitt said Monday that the parents of Kelley’s ex-wife attended First Baptist in Sutherland Springs, though they were not at Sunday’s service. The sheriff described the shooting as a “domestic situation.”

“We know that he had made threatening texts, and we can’t go into detail into that domestic situation that is continuing to be vetted and thoroughly investigated,” Tackitt said, according to the Times

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Officials: Woman started massive blaze after losing home in divorce

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 2:44 PM

Authorities in Paulding County, Georgia, arrested Adrienne Satterly, 41, on 14 counts of first-degree arson and three counts of aggravated animal cruelty.
Paulding County Sheriff's Office
Authorities in Paulding County, Georgia, arrested Adrienne Satterly, 41, on 14 counts of first-degree arson and three counts of aggravated animal cruelty.(Paulding County Sheriff's Office)

Authorities said a Georgia woman accused of setting a fire that spread to 19 houses started it in the house she lost in a divorce.

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Paulding County fire officials said Adrienne Satterly, 41, of Hiram, stacked a pile of mattresses in the living room of the home, on Rosemont Court in Hiram, early Sunday morning.

She then lit the mattresses on fire and left the house with her two cats, fire officials said.

The fire spread to 19 separate homes in the Greystone Subdivision, destroying four homes and damaging 16 others, firefighters said. The fire was reported at 3:25 a.m.

Satterly is charged with 14 counts of first-degree arson and three counts of aggravated animal cruelty.

Neighbors told WSBTV that they ran out of their homes with almost nothing but their lives.

“I lost my two dogs, which is the hardest thing because material things can be replaced, but my dogs is my -- that breaks my heart,” neighbor Auzalea Godfrey said.

Fire investigators said Satterly called 911 after walking about an hour to a nearby Walmart after starting the fire.

Satterly remained jailed Tuesday in Paulding County, where she is being held without bond.

Neighbors said she gave them no warning.

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6-year-old boy, 3 family members shot outside Texas steakhouse

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 11:06 AM

A Young Boy And Family Members Shot Outside Texas Steakhouse

Police are investigating after a 6-year-old boy and three of his family members were shot Sunday evening in the parking lot of a Texas Roadhouse steakhouse in San Antonio.

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Police Chief William McManus said Sunday that the shooting, which happened as people were waiting outside the restaurant to eat, left the 6-year-old with a gunshot wound to his leg. Police said two of the boy’s three injured family members, all adults in their 20s, were hospitalized Sunday in critical but stable condition.

The shooting happened around 8:40 p.m. outside the Texas Roadhouse steakhouse on Cinema Ridge, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

“We do not believe that this shooting is random,” McManus said. “There were a number of people that were standing (outside the restaurant). All the people that were hit were from the same family.”

The gunman, who has not been identified, fired about 10 shots at the family within 15 feet of the front of Texas Roadhouse, the Express-News reported. He was masked at the time of the shooting, according to the newspaper.

Police continue to investigate the attack.

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Police: Woman said she was frustrated when she tossed dog out of moving car

Published: Saturday, February 17, 2018 @ 2:36 PM

Woman Accused of Tossing Dog Out of Moving Car

A woman in Texas has been arrested after she was caught on camera tossing her small dog named Pumpkin out of a moving vehicle.

The Chihuahua-mixed breed survived the incident and was found Thursday roaming a family's rural property in Weatherford, WFAA reported. Surveillance cameras on the property provided clear identification of the vehicle. The dog's microchip further confirmed the owner's identity. 

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When questioned by Sgt. Ricky Montgomery, Janet Byas, 43, initially denied tossing the dog out of the vehicle. When the evidence of her involvement was presented to her, Montgomery said she admitted that she threw the dog out of the car because she was frustrated with it. She said Pumpkin would not stay on her property and she "couldn't handle it anymore," WFAA reported.

When WFAA asked for Montgomery's reaction to Byas' reasoning for throwing the dog out of the car, Montgomery said, "Grow up."

Byas was arrested and charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty.

Pumpkin is recovering from the ordeal and will eventually be available for adoption, Parker County Animal Control said.

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Man arrested 18th time for indecent exposure, police say

Published: Saturday, February 17, 2018 @ 1:03 PM

Nebraska Man Arrested For 18th Alleged Indecent Exposure

A Nebraska man has been arrested for the 18th time for indecent exposure, authorities said.

The latest incident took place Thursday at an Omaha food court, KETV reported.

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Witnesses told KETV that Shawn Noble, 39, was yelling obscenities when he emerged from the food court restroom completely naked. When the property manager ordered him back into the bathroom to put on his clothes, he lunged at her, witnesses said.

Food court employees were able to barricade Noble inside the restroom until police arrived, KETV reported. Noble was charged with indecent exposure and disorderly conduct and taken to the Douglas County Jail.

Noble, a lifetime registered sex offender and transient, has over 30 arrests, including 17 previous arrests for alleged indecent exposure, KETV reported. He recently completed a six-month jail sentence for a 2017 indecent exposure conviction, according to court documents reviewed by KETV.

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