Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Mass Shooting Inside Texas Church; Multiple Fatalities In Texas Church Shooting. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired November 5, 2017 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:00:28] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, hello again everyone, thanks so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We got breaking news out of Texas. Multiple people had been shot at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. That is east of San Antonio, and here's what we know right now.

The FBI and first responders are on the scene. The gunman had died after a brief chase according to a local official. Twenty-seven people are dead.

CNN's Kaylee Hartung has more on the story. You've been talking to a number of people in various ways there. This is tragic, it's horrible, it has really shaken up this small community.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is. This is a small and intimate community and the congregation of the First Baptist Church is full of friends and neighbors. It is our understanding that the shooting occurred in the middle of their Sunday morning, 11:00 a.m. church services.

I spoke with a witness, a gas station cashier just across the street. She said she heard what she estimated to be 20 shots fired right around 11:30 a.m. Local. We've learned from law enforcement that there was a brief pursuit of the suspect to that shooter now dead.

But first responders on the scene as they continue to assess the situation as one local official told us, 27 dead. That number continues to change. More than 20 injured. You can see ambulances on the scene.

There have been air life support in the area as well as local hospitals are doing all they can to help those wounded. But this community, one in which everyone knows everyone. You know, there's a sense among those I talked to that the shooter could be someone they know, someone who is a part of this community.

And that's the fear for those who I have spoken to in Sutherland Springs this morning. This town about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio is getting the full support of state, local, and federal assistance here as they look to learn more about what led to this tragic shooting today.

WHITFIELD: And this pursuit of the gunman, are we learning any thing more about this chase that went from one county to the next, and what count of encounter may have happened before that gunman was killed or died?

HARTUNG: We know very little about that pursuit other than it ended very quickly. Police responded to the scene very shortly after 911 calls began coming in. And they crossed the county line but that's only I'm told if you get on Highway 539 right there that you can see in some of those aerial shots that we're showing of First Baptist Church .

If you hop on that highway, it's about eight to 10 miles to the county line. So a vehicular chase that I'm told ended very quickly once that pursuit began. But we don't know anything to be honest with you about the identity of the suspect. Hoping to learn more as his identity is known to officials.

WHITFIELD: And this happening in the middle of service or at least 30 minutes into the scheduled service at First Baptist Church . You had mentioned earlier that you have seen in previous services at that church they videotape or actually even live stream their services. So unclear about whether today happened to be extenuating circumstances or if that was part of the pattern today.

HARTUNG: Right. And what is troubling to learn as we started to do our research on this church to see that they post every service on YouTube, you have to think that whatever happened inside this church is on a camera somewhere, and the thought that it is possible is really hard to think about.

But this church from what I observed in the services is one in which you can feel the close knit community feeling that these people have for one another. This church is the only food pantry in the town of Sutherland Springs. A church whose doors are always open to help anyone there but we know we will be learning much more about what happened inside that church earlier today as a this investigation continues.

WHITFIELD: A horrible situation, yes. Kaylee, thank you so much.

Also joining our conversation right now, Law Enforcement Analysts Art Roderick and Cedric Alexander. Cedric, I wanted to get your perspective on how you believe the local authorities and federal authorities might be working together at this point trying to figure out what happened, what was the prelude to what happened, and how this police chase led to the death of a gunman.

[15:05:01] CEDRIC ALEXANDER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST (via telephone): Yes Fredricka. First of all, our hearts and prayers go out to all the victims here in this small community. But very early part of this investigation, state and local and federal law enforcement is going to be working together. Number one, to identify the shooter, who he or she may happen to be and make some determination there as to where this all began and start from. So this is very early in the investigation. But, you know, too frequently we're seeing unfortunately these types of incidents and we don't know whether they are domestic or foreign in nature. But I think it's important before we jump to any conclusions would be to remind American people that we allow this investigation to begin and as we learn more, and any information is shared with the community can keep well and help us move through this.

But this is a very, very tragic Sunday for all of us. Not just this community but across this country because we've seen too many of these too frequently unfortunately.

WHITFIELD: I mean, this is a moment where this community and so many churches, you know, across the country, you know, feel very safe and for something like this to happen, I mean, stuns on so many levels. You know, Cedric, what are your thoughts about the potential of cameras within this sanctuary? And how that will assist in the investigative phase here.

Kaylee discovered that prior services either they were posted on YouTube so how might that be instrumental, even previous services instrumental in this investigation.

ALEXANDER (via telephone): Well, it's going to be important should there be any cameras in and around that church or inside that church while the service was going on. It very well could have been being recorded at the time of the shooting.

But I think we have to note the fact that if that video is there, law enforcement is going to review it. And I think we have to be very cautious of that type of video that will be so violent and gruesome being shown as well because it is -- that can be horrible. It's goodbye to be devastating to all of us.

So, unfortunate as it may happen to be. We hope that video is there to give us an idea of what occurred, but more importantly is that this gunman is down. And it's just a matter now identifying who he is, what his motives were again is very early in the investigation.

WHITFIELD: Art Roderick, what are your thoughts and questions based on what we have learned and so much that we haven't.

ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST (via telephone): Now, as Cedric is right to look at video like that is devastating to anybody. But I think with the gunman being down at this point, they can shift all their law enforcement assets back to not only the crime scene but trying to figure out what the motive is.

You know, we've already heard at the individual's house and they will be looking at the social media, and it wouldn't surprise me the cause (INAUDIBLE). But in a close knit community like -- this individual, this is such a violent and personal act that it would not surprise me if this individual is known in the community and obviously snapped or has some beef because this is devastating.

If these numbers are correct with that many people being shot and that many people being wounded, I hate to say it, but this is a very high mortality and high injury rate.

WHITFIELD: We are just learning while the president of the United States is on his ASIA trip, he is in Japan today, he has tweeted this. "May God be with the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI and law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan."

So Art, to pick up on, you know, your comment about, you know, whether a local person, a familiar face, you know, would be part of this investigation. We still don't know the identity of this gunman, but, you know, are your instincts -- speaking from your instincts when you talk about the possible familiarity of this gunman?

RODERICK (via telephone): Yes, I am speaking from my instincts. It's just -- and to comment on Cedric's earlier comments, I mean, this video is going to be the key. And if they posted this on YouTube in the past, then we're probably going to see photos of this individual in the crowd multiple times. It's just such a violent act, it seems very personal and it seems like this individual unfortunately might be part of the community. And I think even Commissioner Gamez in your earlier interviews, Fred had mentioned something about the possibility of the individual being known in the community.

[15:10:03] WHITFIELD: And Art, when we spoke with Wilson County commissioner earlier, he talked about -- you know, he just rolled up on the scene and my conversation with him was maybe about 30 minutes ago and when he rolled up on the scene he says he knows there were victims inside but he was seeing absolutely no activity in terms of transporting, you know, any more individuals.

At this juncture of the investigation, many of the injured have been transported according to eyewitness accounts. What are investigators doing right now likely at this church location and also trying to, you know, assess those who have been injured mortally who may still be in the church?

RODERICK (via telephone): Yes. Well, the injured are removed immediately for medical care. That's always the case in any type of mass casualty event. Unfortunately, what we have here is we also have a major crime scene going on inside the church. So it's going to be a while before those that are mortally wounded will be removed.

So photographs have to be taken, you know, bullet trajectory is going to be done. I mean, shell casings are going to be recovered. But it's going to be a little bit before those people are removed.

It's sad, but that's what has to go on in every single crime scene that occurs. I mean, they just have to measure everything else so they know exactly what occurred in that church at that particular time. And again, going back, the video will be a key if there was video going at that point this time on.

WHITFIELD: Oh my goodness, that is agonizing for the people there. Parishioners, for neighbors, loved ones who were still awaiting word about their loved ones who were in the church. Cedric Alexander, would you like to add to that in your assessment of the kind of investigative activity that's happening right now in the church, and perhaps even potentially at the gunman's residence or any place that may be familiar with the gunman whose identity again, we have -- has not been made public.

ALEXANDER (via telephone): Yes. I just think what -- to echo what Art had just stated is very clearly straight forward. This is a very tragic scene. And the unfortunate part in all of this, that there are family members I'm quite sure outside that church waiting to learn about the fate of their family and loved ones and friends.

So this is a very tragic time. Law enforcement is going to have a very busy next few days, number one, maintaining control of that scene and making sure that all the evidence is gathered from video to ballistic material. You name it. And -- but the most challenging part of all of this for that community and I think for us as a nation too, Fredricka is for those family members and friends who are standing by to learn the fate of their loved ones. Our hearts and prayers go out to them again.

WHITFIELD: Indeed, our hearts and prayers are going out to the people there in South Texas, there in Sutherland Springs.

All right, Art, Cedric, Kaylee, thank you so much. We're going to take a short break for now and we'll have much more on this tragedy in Texas.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:17:28] WHITFIELD: Welcome back, we are following a horrible situation out of Sutherland Springs, Texas at a church on Sunday services today, roughly 11:30 Central Time. A gunman walks into that church in the midst of service and what we understand right now, dozens according to one local official on the ground, dozens killed and dozens injured. It is an active crime scene right now.

Many people have been transported to local hospitals. But still we understand from authorities there remain many bodies within that church as they now try to figure out what happened and why. We understand the gunman is dead, still unclear, after a police chase whether that's a self inflicted wound or whether police took that individual down. The identity of the gunman still has yet to be revealed.

Earlier, I spoke with Albert Gamez Jr., he is a commissioner in Wilson County, Texas. Wilson County is where the shooting took place. It was the neighboring county where the gunman was killed or died. This is what Mr. Gamez told me earlier.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

ALBERT GAMEZ JR., COMMISSIONER, WILSON COUNTY, TEXAS (via telephone): Right now, I just spoke to EMS spokesman and they're looking close to 27 deceased and over 24 injuries. But that's a number that keeps changing because we're at 24 and now it's 27. So, I mean, I don't -- we still don't know the correct number on the deceased.

WHITFIELD: Yes, CNN is unable to verify.

(OFF-MIC)

WHITFIELD: Yes, CNN is unable to verify these numbers. We too are trying to get the official numbers. But based on what you are learning, that's the information you're conveying to us. So where are you right now? Can you describe what you're seeing?

GAMEZ (via telephone): Probably a half block from the scene. I mean, I can see the church.

WHITFIELD: And what's your understanding about the circumstances to how the gunman was taken down or whether this was self-inflicted wound.

GAMEZ (via telephone): The gunman took off and they were in pursuit going on (INAUDIBLE) border into Guadalupe County. That's all I know and I think they told me that he was deceased. I don't know if he shot himself or he was shot.

WHITFIELD: Was the gunman on foot or do you understand to be in a vehicle?

GAMEZ (via telephone): No, look, in a vehicle.

WHITFIELD: OK. And tell me about this church, First Baptist Church . Fairly, you know, intimate community here. Tell me about the church, the parishioners here and what is usually an 11:00 service there Central Time.

[19:20:05] Yes. I mean, this is a small community. I mean, a small church. I mean, it's a real nice quiet community. I mean, we just don't know the details what inspired that guy to start shooting at the people inside there.

WHITFIELD: And how did you hear of this shooting? Were you nearby --

GAMEZ (via telephone): Yes, I got a call and they told me that there was a big scene going on with a lot of children and (INAUDIBLE). So I called the Sheriff Department and the sheriff told me that he was on his way over here to the scene. So, I mean, that's all the details right now. I mean, all the details are sketchy what I'm giving to you right now, but I'm trying to determine all what's going on.

WHITFIELD: Yes, absolutely. What had happened not a long time ago.

GAMEZ (via telephone): You're going to find out a lot -- we got -- I think we got the FBI now at the air and everybody so.

WHITFIELD: Yes. So I understand the ATF, FBI, U.S. Marshals, local authorities all there. Are you able to see, you know, the activity, you know, of the church, are you able to see victims being transported?

GAMEZ (via telephone): No, all the victims are inside the church. There's nobody outside that I can see.

WHITFIELD: So, it's your understanding based on information that we have learned and perhaps the information matches ours that there were about four helicopters that did pick up injured victims.

GAMEZ (via telephone): Yes. Uh-huh.

WHITFIELD: But you have not seen activity since the time that you've been there --

GAMEZ (via telephone): No, I think they removed all the injured, but there is still EMS here. But I think they removed all the injured already.

WHITFIELD: This is A horribly sad day for Sutherland Springs, Texas.

GAMEZ (via telephone): Oh, it's a tragic day ma'am. Real tragic.

WHITFIELD: Tell me what you're thinking and feeling.

GAMEZ (via telephone): My heart is broken on this. I mean, we never think where it can happen and it does happen. It doesn't matter where you are at. I mean, in a small community, real quiet and everything, and look at this, what can happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: My conversation with Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez Jr. earlier. So many hearts are broken. We heard from the Texas governor who also conveyed prayers are being said for the people there of South Texas. We're also hearing from the president of the United States while he is on his five-nation Asian tour.

CNN's White House Reporter Jeremy Diamond is in Tokyo traveling with the president. Jeremy, what more are you hearing from the White House, the president on travel there?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, the president just a few minutes ago tweeted about this terrible, terrible shooting. Let me just read you the president's tweet that he posted just moments ago. He said, quote, may God be with the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI and law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.

As of now, we have not heard of any changes to the president's schedule, but this of course comes just less than 24 hours after the president arrived here in Tokyo to begin his five-country tour of Asia where he's expected to focus on trade and the North Korean threat. All that of course is not going to be underscored by this terrible shooting which comes just a month, just a little over a month after that terrible shooting in Las Vegas.

And this is now another shooting that the president is going to have to respond to and deal with. We are expected to see and hear from the president later today as part of his regular schedule. And so I'm sure that he will probably address this shooting on camera and we'll have to wait to see what he has to say then. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right, Jeremy Diamond in Tokyo, thank you so much.

Response is coming from so many. House Speaker Paul Ryan also sending out a tweet responding this ways saying, "Reports out of Texas are devastating. The people of Sutherland Springs need our prayers right now."

So many shaken there in Sutherland Springs and beyond. Dana Fletcher lives in and owns a business in Sutherland Springs. She's on the phone with me right now.

Dana, what can you tell me about what you heard, what you have seen. How this has really shaken up your community?

DANA FLETCHER, SUTHERLAND SPRINGS RESIDENT (via telephone): Well, what we saw -- we learned about from a news person like yourself calling our store and asking us about it. Our store is right down the road from where it happened, right down the highway. So we drove and we saw emergency, you know, responders everywhere, fire, ambulance and AirLIFE. There was AirLIFE on the ground and three AirLIFEs circling to get in. And it -- you know, it's just awful for the people at church on a Sunday.

[15:25:01] WHITFIELD: So you did not hear the gunfire? You learned of this because of, you know, someone inquiring about what you knew about it.

FLETCHER (via telephone): Exactly. We did not hear the gunfire.

WHITFIELD: Gotcha. So, when you did get close enough to the church or tot the activity there, describe for me what you've been able to see.

FLETCHER (via telephone): There were emergency responders everywhere, there were people of course lined up at -- and, you know, Sutherland Springs is very small. There's not much there business-wise. There's two gas stations, the church, a community center, post office, a Dollar General, a tire shop. So that's about it.

We're a very small place so people were just lined up and of course we were in shock from what we heard and we just -- we're speaking to people in the Dollar General parking lot where we pulled over to see what, you know, to see what was going on and we're told that it was a mass shooting.

They weren't sure if there was more than one gunman at the time when we were speaking to people. They said one was apprehended, but there was possibly a second. We closed our store and went home and we don't actually live in Sutherland Springs, we live in a surrounding community (INAUDIBLE).

WHITFIELD: Even though you live nearby and not in Sutherland Springs, were you familiar with the First Baptist Church ?

FLETCHER (via telephone): Well, we just were in a parade with them last week. Sutherland Springs being the little place it was have its -- I want to say it was the 20th annual old town day parade which ends at the community center. And so they were in the parade, they had a float in the parade along with us. But we aren't familiar with them because we've only been open as a business in Sutherland Springs for the last six months.

WHITFIELD: Were you at least familiar enough to know what this church means to the community there? How close-knit of a community -- church community it is? You know, just how vital it is to this area.

FLETCHER (via telephone): It's a very tight-knit community in Sutherland Springs as far as people that have been there a long time, they all know each other. The properties that ours -- that our business is on, we've met the people that built the buildings. They come in to see it.

You know, it's a small community and it's close-knit and most people there know each other very well. We have not been there long enough to know them all that well, but we're getting to know them.

WHITFIELD: This shooting, has it made you -- describe your feelings. Are you fearful, are you worried? You know, overwhelmingly sad clearly.

FLETCHER (via telephone): Absolutely. We closed up and went home because we were fearful of what was going on as well as -- you know, it's just that feeling like you are not safe anywhere. You know, if there was another shooter on the loose, we wanted to get home and just try to be safe. We've learned since then that that's probably not the case and my husband and I are both terribly shaken. At least we don't know, you know, I mean -- because it's people in church on a Sunday in a small rural community. It's just not what you expect.

WHITFIELD: We understand that the scene is still active in terms of a crime scene. Investigators are there, you know, from federal, state, and local jurisdictions. There has been --

FLETCHER (via telephone): I'm sure. We keep hearing from the news the number keeps increasing as far as how many are injured or possibly deceased.

WHITFIELD: Sure. And we understand that a number of the injured have been, you know, choppered out of the area. But we did talk to one county commissioner, Albert Gamez Jr. who had a conversation with an EMS official there telling him that dozens killed, dozens injured.

But again, we have not received any official word from authorities there. That by way of the commissioner.

FLETCHER (via telephone): And it's just a small church. That's the other part of it that is so sad. You know, it's a little church in a very small community. I don't know why it would be targeted.

WHITFIELD: Yes, also heartbreaking. Dana Fletcher, thank you so much for your time. And so many prayers going out to everyone there in the Sutherland Springs, Texas community. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:33:58] WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. We continue to follow breaking news out of Texas. Multiple people have been shot at a church in Sutherland Springs, located east of San Antonio. This is what we know.

Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez Jr. tell CNN he was told by an emergency responder that 27 people are dead and more than 24 injured. The FBI and first responders are on the scene. The gunman has died after a brief chase.

CNN's Kaylee Hartung is talking to a number of people on the ground there and she's with me now. What more are you learning?

HARTUNG: Well, Fred, in speaking with a witness, a cashier at a gas station just across the street from First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. She told me it was around 11:30 this morning, Local Time in Texas when she heard shots fired. It sounded to here -- she estimated to be 20 shots from what, again, sounded to her like a semiautomatic weapon. She said those shots were fired in very quick succession.

And while she had customers inside that gas station, they began calling 911 commuting with police. She said police responded to the scene at First Baptist Church very quickly.

[15:35:02] We then learned from local officials that a brief pursuit was then ensued of the suspect as the gunman took off in a vehicle. And as it's explained to me crossed the county line into Guadalupe County, the neighboring county to Wilson County where Sutherland Springs is. And that suspect was then apprehended, and we are unsure if he was killed by police or if it was self-inflicted gunshot that took his life but that pursuit again is very brief and quick as this is an ongoing crime scene.

At First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Sutherland Springs is a small tight-knit community, just about 30 miles east of San Antonio. You now have the assets of federal, state, and local authorities on the scene assessing the situation, trying to learn more about what transpired there this morning in the middle of a Sunday church service at First Baptist Church .

And we've learned that First Baptist Church post their services each Sunday on their YouTube channel. So it's a question to ask, Fred, for investigators, does video exist from this morning service? It could be incredibly helpful in the course of this investigation but also just troubling and disturbing to think about this act being caught on camera.

WHITFIELD: Yes, it's heartbreaking, but clearly, you know, that type of information that can be extracted from any kind of video, camera would certainly be very helpful for law enforcement.

Let's bring into the equation in fact Law Enforcement Analysts Art Roderick and Cedric Alexander.

So, Art, you first. How will authorities try to look into whether there is any video, any kind of camera activity that might be able to help them in the investigation?

RODERICK (via telephone): Yes. Well, I mean, it's quite interesting that the YouTube video exists from other church services so that's going to be key. I'm sure they already have their hands on it and also

surveillance cameras from the local gas station and from the local convenience store there where witnesses had earlier told us about the at least 20 shots being fired. That's going to be the key.

And I think once they piece that all together and figure out motive here, it's just going to take a lot for us to get all these information out. And I'm sure with the federal, state, and local assets that have been put into this, they have a pretty good idea of what occurred so far. But -- I mean, in a close community like this, a lot of times when (INAUDIBLE) just occur, you know, I hate to say it but it's more than likely somebody from the community that is known.

And we're digging on, I'm sure these facts will be coming out very shortly. I'm kind of surprised at this point, we don't have the press conference that's occurred but, you know, with that many casualties and that many injuries, I'm sure everybody is busy triaging and trying to put the crime scene together at this point in time.

WHITFIELD: And Cedric, if indeed it is somebody, you know, familiar to this community, then likely descending on that person's residence is happening possibly simultaneously if they have that kind of information.

ALEXANDER (via telephone): Yes, that would be absolutely correct. Once they identify the shooter and get a sense of where he is from, if he is local or nearby, they're certainly would seek search warrants going to his home, his car, his residence, his place of business or her place of business, whoever this subject may happen to be and learn more about them and get whatever evidence that they can.

There's a lot that's going to be going on for the next few hours. Being a small community like you have there, I'm quite sure they are very much overwhelmed and once they get their bearing, hopefully they'll come forward with some type of press conference. But that has to be a hugely overbearing scene there for state, local, and federal authorities.

But I'm confident that within some reasonable amount of time, we will hear from them hopefully, and we can gain more insight as to maybe who the shooter is, and what was his provocation behind all of this.

WHITFIELD: All right, Cedric Alexander, Art Roderick, thank you so much.

Again, so many are expressing their concern for the community, prayers are being sent. Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeting earlier not long after the incident. "Our prayers are with all who were harmed by the evil act. I thanked the law enforcement for their response. More details from DPS soon."

And then from the president of the United States who is on a five- Asian nation tour right now. He is in Japan, he tweeted out, "May God be with people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI and law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.'

This is a heartbreaking situation for so many there in South Texas. Everyone still trying to figure out what happened and why, and trying to learn more about this gunman.

[15:40:05] Again, the gunman is down, still unclear whether it was a self-inflicted wound or whether police took that gunman down but we do know that there was some sort of police chase taking place after this shooting situation.

And also Kaylee Hartung, thank you so much for your information. We're going to continue to watch the developments there out of Sutherland Springs, Texas. And we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:44:30] WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. We continue to follow breaking news out of Texas. Multiple people have been shot at a church in Sutherland Springs located east of San Antonio. It is a horrible situation, it's an active crime scene.

Right now, law enforcement still on the scene. Helicopters have been in to retrieve the injured who are being treated at nearby hospitals. But, law enforcement also telling us if there are a number of bodies that remain in the church. They will not be moving those bodies for sometime we understand while they try to discern trajectories, collect evidence from this active crime scene.

[15:45:07] CNN's Kaylee Hartung is with me now. You've been talking to a number of people. We also understand the gunman is dead but we don't know all the circumstances surrounding that person's death.

HARTUNG: It's unclear what happened after the gunman walked into First Baptist Church around 11:30 a.m. Local Time in Sutherland Springs this morning in the middle of a Sunday service for a very tight-knit community there. But after the shooting occurred, he took off in a vehicle. It's our understanding there was a brief pursuit by police that crossed the county line from Wilson County into Guadalupe County where then we are unsure if the gunman took then his own life or if police took him down. But we learned from Guadalupe County officers that the gunman is dead and that pursuit was very brief.

I'm told that it's about 8 to 10 miles from the First Baptist Church to then cross the Guadalupe County line. They're traveling on Highway -- let's see, it's at 539 which you can see in some of the aerial footage when we show you First Baptist Church there.

And as for the injured, we're learning six patients are being treated in university health hospital in San Antonio and Connally Memorial Medical Center in Floresville is also continuing to bring patients in. From witnesses I talked to near the scene, they say that any air support has stopped at this point though four or five helicopters helped to service the area. We are seeing federal, state, and local assets there is on hand as this investigation continues.

WHITFIELD: Horrible situation. This taking place just roughly 30 minutes into church service. We understand it's a small intimate church. You had reported earlier this is a sanctuary that will post services on YouTube. And the video capability, the cameras are going to be really instructive in the investigation.

HARTUNG: You can only imagine that if video exists of what happened inside the walls of the First Baptist Church this morning, it will be a crucial part of this investigation. But, for weeks upon weeks, this church has posted each Sunday service on its YouTube channel to be viewed by its congregation and others at their leisure.

Looking at the video from weeks past, you can see the community feel that exists inside the walls that of that church for that congregation. Looking at just last week's sermon, you saw children in the congregation with their parents. I saw one little girl sitting on her dad's lap during the service. Elderly in the front row.

But as it's been explained to me, this is a community of friends and neighbors. A very small rural community where everyone knows each other, and it was expressed to me by one member of that community this morning, a real fear that they could know the gunman.

WHITFIELD: All right, we'll wait for more information as the investigation is still very much under way. Kaylee Hartung, thank you so much.

We're going to take a short break for now and we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:52:36] WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. We continue to watch this breaking news. A tragic situation. Multiple people shot at a church in Sutherland Springs located just east of San Antonio, Texas. Law enforcement still on the scene there. A number of people injured have been transported.

But we've been talking to our Law Enforcement Analysts Art Roderick and Cedric Alexander and they have explained that customary those mortally wounded are likely still within that church. It will be hours before this scene is cleared. It's an active investigation right now.

We understand that the gunman was pursued by law enforcement into a neighboring count, Guadalupe County. This church taking place in Wilson County, and that gunman is dead. Still unclear whether that was the result of a self-inflicted wound or if police took that person down.

Law Enforcement Analysts Art Roderick, Cedric Alexander with me now. Gentlemen, so many prayers being conveyed to Sutherland Springs by so many. The president while he is abroad in Japan and also Senator Ted Cruz also saying via tweet, "Keeping all harmed in Sutherland Springs in our prayers. I'm grateful for our brave first responders on the scene."

Both of you have talked about how it will be hours before this scene is cleared. So, Art, give us an idea of the intricacies of what's taking place likely in that church with so many. We still don't have an official number. So many who are dead.

Explain to us now the trajectory, the investigations bullet casings. All that is taking place within that church.

RODERICK (via telephone): Yes. When you look at a crime scene like this, this is -- it takes hours to sort through this. And unfortunately, it's a sad part of law enforcement that you've got at least 24 people dead. I'm sure it's a horrible scene in there, but they have to look at every single body, they have to do photographs, they have to do ballistics trajectory tests. They'll look in the shell casings, they're making sure there's only one and what weapons were actually used in this particular incident. And it's going to take a lot of time.

And that's just the sad part of any crime scene that we deal with here in the United States. It just takes a lot of time to figure out exactly what occurred in that particular scene.

[15:55:08] WHITFIELD: All right, Art Roderick, thank you so much. Cedric Alexander, I'm going to get your take after this short break.

For now we continue to watch the developments there out of Sutherland Springs there. Tragic situation involving this church shooting. One county commissioner telling us 27 dead, 24 injured.

Again, we are unable -- CNN is unable to verify that number but that coming from a local official on the ground there. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. Hello everyone, I'm Fredrick Whitfield. We're watching breaking news out of Texas.