Sutherland Springs is a small community just 30 miles outside of Antonio, Texas. Quiet and quaint, this tight-knit town of just about 700 people is the last place anyone would expect to be the center of international media coverage. But Sunday morning, carnage swept the town’s First Baptist Church after a gunman opened fire on a worship service, killing 26 and wounding dozens more.
Among the dead was 14-year-old Annabelle Pomeroy, one of the daughters of First Baptist Church pastor, Frank Pomeroy.
An emotional press conference on Monday proved just how close this small-town community really is.
In their first appearance before the media since the shooting, Frank and Sherri Pomeroy addressed questions and comments with the utmost grace and patience amidst their mourning.
“We’ve had a long night with our children and grandbabies we have left,” Frank said before turning to his wife to share a few words about the family they tragically lost on Sunday.
Both Frank and Sherri emphasized on multiple occasions during the press conference that the victims of Sunday’s massacre were not just fellow church members, but rather “close family.”
Pastor’s wife speaks on daughter killed in church shooting: “Belle was surrounded yesterday by her church family that she loved fiercely.” pic.twitter.com/VTkoMDJEXF
— ABC News (@ABC) November 6, 2017
“We ate together, we laughed together, we cried together and we worshiped together,” Sherri said. “Now most of our church family is gone.”
The grieving couple, who was traveling out of state at the time of the shooting, says they have been “bombarded” by the media with requests to share, comment and publicly appear as they “celebrate Annabelle’s life.” But Sherri reiterated Monday that their hope is that their personal tragedy of losing their daughter will not overshadow the other lives lost on Sunday.
“We lost more than Belle yesterday, and one thing that gives me a sliver of encouragement is the fact that Belle was surrounded yesterday by her church family, who she loved fiercely, and vice versa.”
Preceding Sherri’s statements, members of the media asked Frank what he plans to tell other grieving families, to which he provided honesty and hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ.