The frightened children made him angrier.
Gunman Devin Kelley yelled, “Everybody is going to die, motherf—ers,” before he unleashed mayhem inside the Texas church where he killed 26 people, including more than a dozen children, according to a couple who survived the attack.
“When the children cried next to their mothers, he would return to shoot them more,” Joaquin Ramirez, 50, told the Daily News. “He had more hatred toward the children because they cried.”
Ramirez and his live-in girlfriend, Rosanne Solis, 52, were sitting in the third row of the front left side of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs when Kelley, 26, entered shortly after 11 a.m. on Sunday. They hid under the church benches as the gunman emptied clip after clip of his assault rifle.
He wrought havoc on the church for 16 minutes, Ramirez said, filling the tiny house of worship with blood and gun smoke.
Kelley — wearing tactical gear and a black face mask with a white skull — walked up and down the aisle, shooting frightened parishioners who tried to seek refuge in the pews.
His youngest victim was 1-year-old Noah Holcombe, whose father, grandparents and several young cousins were killed in the attack. An additional 20 people were wounded.
Kelley’s first target was the video crew stationed in the church’s rear, who regularly recorded the congregation’s sermons to post online. “He came in very angry,” said Ramirez. “Someone said, we are being attacked.”
The next target was Annabelle Pomeroy, daughter of the church’s pastor, who was traveling in Oklahoma at the time.
Deadly mass shooting at Texas church leaves multiple people dead
Kelley shot 14-year-old Annabelle, who was sitting in the front row, wounding her in the upper body, a still rattled Ramirez said.
“She looked in me in the eyes and said, ‘Please help me,’” he said.
All Ramirez could do, however, was tell her to hide under a bench to elude Kelley.
Kelley started to make his way out of the church — thinking everyone was dead — when he heard Annabelle screaming in pain again.
“The pastor’s daughter cried again and he walked back to the front to shoot her,” Ramirez said.
Fragments from the last shot at Annabelle hit Solis in the shoulder. She told Ramirez to leave her there so at least one of them could survive.
The couple’s inability to help the frightened children has left both of them still shaken.
“It was horrible to see him shoot children and not being able to help them,” Solis told The News. “I don’t know how we survived.”