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Texas church holds service for the first time since shooting

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Hundreds of people were expected to join members of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday for the first service since a gunman opened fire there last week, killing 26 people.

Initial plans called for a gathering at a small community center, but organizers moved the services to a baseball park when it appeared about 500 people planned to attend the morning service, The Associated Press reported.

Church officials also planned a public memorial inside the church on Sunday afternoon, with 26 empty chairs. 

{mosads}Pastor Frank Pomeroy said last week that the church will not reopen. His 14-year-old daughter was among those killed in the shooting. 

The church and the small, rural town of Sutherland Springs were thrust into the spotlight last Sunday when a gunman opened fire in the church, killing 26 people and wounding several others. Sutherland Springs is located about 35 miles east of San Antonio.

Authorities identified the shooter as Devin Kelley, 26. Kelley shot himself following a brief chase with police, officials said.

Kelley had been court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his wife and stepson. Authorities said the Air Force failed to enter Kelley’s domestic violence conviction in a federal database used for background checks on gun sales, which would have prevented him from purchasing firearms.

— Updated 1:51 p.m.

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