A Texas Church in Sutherland Springs where 26 people died during a mass shooting is reportedly set to be demolished four years after the tragic incident.
Faithwire said the members of the First Baptist Church have voted on Sunday to demolish their sanctuary after it was deemed unsafe as a structure.
News 4 San Antonio Multimedia Journalist Morgan Burrell tweeted on Sunday that the church, which was turned into a memorial after the shooting incident, would be demolished following a vote of 69-35 by its members. Burrell said the decision was painful for the congregation, whose memory of the tragic incident is "still raw."
"TODAY: I spoke with members of the Sutherland Springs community and could hear the pain in their voices. Church members voted 69 to 35 to level the structure. You may remember just a week after the shooting, the quaint building was transformed into a memorial for victims," Burrel disclosed.
"It's been nearly 4 years since more than 2 dozen people were gunned down while attending Sunday service @ First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs," she added in a succeeding tweet. "The pain is still raw but during a meeting today, church members voted to tear down the old building where the shooting happened."
TODAY: I spoke with members of the Sutherland Springs community and could hear the pain in their voices.
Church members voted 69 to 35 to level the structure.
You may remember just a week after the shooting, the quaint building was transformed into a memorial for victims. pic.twitter.com/vXCBqumpiH
— Morgan Burrell (@Morgan_Burrell) August 22, 2021
Patrick Kelly was reported to have fired 465 rounds of ammunition upon entering the church on November 5, 2017 while an ongoing worship service was taking place. Domestic concerns were said to be the main reason for Kelly's shooting spree based on investigations since he was intending to kill his mother-in-law who attends the church. However, she was not present at that time. The incident's victims were aged 5 to 72 years and included a pregnant woman.
Last month, Western District of Texas Judge Xavier Rodriguez ruled that 60% of the shooting incident was the fault of the U.S. Air Force while Kelly was only responsible for 40%.
Rodriguez said Kelly's history of violence was enough indicators for the U.S. government to not have issued him a firearm. The government was not able to "properly report Kelly's information into the" National Instant Criminal Background Check System. This enabled Kelly to purchase several firearms thereafter for his shooting spree.
"The trial conclusively established that no other individual--not even Kelley's own parents or partners--knew as much as the United States about the violence that Devin Kelley had threatened to commit and was capable of committing," Rodriguez stressed in the ruling.
"Moreover, the evidence shows that--had the government done its job and properly reported Kelley's information into the background check system--it is more likely than not that Kelley would have been deterred from carrying out the church shooting," he added.
According to Faithwire, the sanctuary was converted into a memorial in 2019 and beside it the new church was built.
First Baptist Pastor Frank Pomeroy said during the opening rites back in 2019 that the memorial was meant to remember "those who have paid a price for this incredible facility." The names of all those who died were read while the church bell was rung while those related to the deceased stood up.