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26 killed in Texas church attack
(Nov 6, 2017): A black-clad gunman armed with an assault rifle opened fire on a small town Texas church during Sunday morning services, killing 26 people and wounding 20 in the latest mass shooting to shock the United States.

Authorities did not identify the gunman, saying only that he was a "young white male, maybe in his early 20s," who was wearing a bulletproof vest and found dead in his vehicle after being confronted by a local resident.

Exactly five weeks after the worst shooting in modern US history, the latest tragedy prompted an outpouring of condolences, led by US President Donald Trump.

The victims, who ranged in age from five to 72, were gunned down at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a rural community of about 400 people located 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of San Antonio.

The gunman fired outside at the church before entering the building and continuing to spray bullets, said Freeman Martin, regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

"As he exited the church, a local resident grabbed his rifle and engaged that suspect. The suspect dropped his rifle, which was a Ruger AR assault-type rifle, and fled from the church. Our local citizen pursued the suspect at that time," Martin said.

Law enforcement later found the gunman dead in his car, which had crashed, on the Wilson-Guadalupe county line. It was not clear if he had committed suicide or was shot by the resident who had confronted him.

Multiple weapons were found in the car, which was processed by bomb technicians.

"We have multiple, multiple crime scenes. We have the church, outside the church. We have where the suspect's vehicle was located," said Martin.

"We have been following up on the suspect and where he's from. We have Texas Rangers at all the hospitals locating those and interviewing those who were injured."

US media outlets identified the shooter as a 26-year-old veteran who had faced a court-martial and was dishonorably discharged from the Air Force in 2014.

US Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told AFP that the man had served in the logistics readiness at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, from 2010 until his discharge.(AFP)

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