At least 20 people have been killed in a shooting at a Baptist church in Texas.
Police and emergency services are attending the church in Sutherland Springs, a small town with a population under 1,000.
According to local news outlets, Wilson County sheriff Joe Tackitt said the gunman had been “taken down”.
A witness told CBS News that she heard about 20 gunshots when the shooter opened fire around 11.30am local time (4.30am AEDT). According to the church’s website, Sunday services start at 11am.
Early reports suggest the FBI is likely involved to investigate the case as a possible hate crime since it occurred at a church.
US president Donald Trump has tweeted: “”May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.”
May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2017
Mark Hamill, best known for playing Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars film series, also took to Twitter following the shooting, saying “thoughts and prayers and Port Arthur #ItCanBeDone”
thoughts and prayers and Port Arthur #ItCanBeDone
— Mark Hamillween (@HamillHimself) November 5, 2017
The reference is to the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania in April 1996, where 35 people were killed and 23 wounded. The attack transformed gun control legislation in Australia.
Now, all firearms must be registered or people risk 14 years in jail and a $280,000 fine. There are also limitations on the types of guns that can be purchased and the reasons for needing them — personal protection does not qualify.
Additional reporting by Rebecca Harrington.
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