AUSTIN, Texas – US Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Texas on Wednesday to meet with wounded survivors of last weekend’s shooting at a Baptist church in the small town of Sutherland Springs, which left 26 people dead.
Pence arrived in San Antonio aboard the Air Force Two, accompanied by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Texas Reps. Will Hurd and Henry Cuellar.
The delegation then headed to Brooke Army Medical Center, where seven of those wounded Sunday remain hospitalized.
In comments to reporters before the vice president’s plane left Washington, Cuellar, a Democrat whose district includes the scene of the massacre, described Pence as “very compassionate.”
“This is a time when the people need the hugs and the kind words, because right now there’s a lot of tears falling on the streets of Sutherland Springs, and it means a lot for him to be there,” the congressman said.
Following the visit to the hospital, Pence and the others went to Sutherland Springs to receive a briefing on the latest developments in the investigation.
The schedule called for the delegation to take part Wednesday evening in a prayer vigil for the victims, set to be held at a high school football stadium in the nearby town of Floresville.
Though shots were fired near the stadium earlier Wednesday, authorities in Floresville said that nobody was hurt and discounted any threat to the prayer gathering.
The deadliest mass shooting in Texas history was the work of Devin Patrick Kelley, a 26-year-old man who was expelled from the US Air Force with a bad-conduct discharge after a court-martial conviction for domestic violence.
Kelley is thought to have targeted the church because his estranged mother-in-law was a member of the congregation, but she happened to be absent on Sunday.
The dead range in age from 17 months to 77 and include eight members of the same family.