Texas church shooting survivor played dead as gunman searched for 'more people to shoot'
(SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas) — One of the survivors of Sunday’s massacre at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, described the terror she felt when suspect Devin Kelley unloaded a hail of gunfire on the churchgoers.
Rosanne Solis told ABC News that she was certain she was going to die when the gunman began firing. “I’m gonna die, I knew I was gonna die, I knew ’cause the shots were going to close to my head,” she said. “… I didn’t want to die.”
Solis said that at first, everybody started screaming when the suspect began shooting, but then it grew silent as he made his way through the church, stopping to reload several times.
“He was shooting the people on the floor, they were on the ground already bleeding,” she said. “… They were scared. Nobody was about to say a word. … I would not even move, I would not even make a sound.”
She added: “You could hear a pin drop in there, silence. Real quiet. … I knew if I said something he was gonna kill me, he was looking for people to shoot more people to shoot.”
As she lay on the ground, Solis prayed for help, she said, and played dead so as not to attract the shooter’s attention.
“I played dead and I made sure that I hid myself good under [a] bench,” she said, adding that a boy and a woman hid with her.
When Solis was hit by one of the bullets, she said she didn’t even feel the pain. That came later, she said.
After help arrived, Solis said she saw bodies scattered around her as she stumbled out of the building. Twenty-six people died in the shooting, which is the worst mass shooting in state history. Eight members of the extended Holcombe family were among the dead.
Kelley, 26, later took his own life, according to officials. While authorities have not released a specific motive, they said this morning the suspect’s mother-in-law had attended the church and that the suspect had “expressed anger toward” her and sent “threatening texts.”
Solis, who was shot in the shoulder and only just returned home this evening, said she didn’t know why she survived but is thankful she did.
“I feel so sorry for the people that lost their loved ones,” she said.
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