The frightened children made him angrier.
Gunman Devin Kelley yelled, “Everybody is going to die motherf—–s,” before he unleashed mayhem inside the tiny Texas church where he killed 26 people including several children, a couple who survived the attack said.
He especially went after the startled kids who begged for help as he continued to shoot them at close range.
“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 near the back of the First Baptist Church when Kelley entered shortly after 11 a.m. Sunday. They hid under the church benches as the gunman emptied clip after clip of his assault rifle.
He wreaked havoc on the church for 16 minutes, Ramirez said, filling the small house of worship with blood and gunsmoke.
Ramirez, 50, survived the Sutherland church shooting by crawling behind Kelley as he continued to shoot people.
(Edgar Sandoval/New York Daily News)
Kelley — wearing tactical gear and a black facemask 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, aunt and several young cousins were killed in the attack. Another 20 people were wounded.
Kelley’s first target was the video crew stationed in church’s rear, who regularly recorded the congregation’s sermons to post online.
“He came in very angry,” said Ramirez, 50. “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, 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.
Twenty-six people were killed because of the shooting, including an 18-month-old child.
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.
Ramirez said he crawled behind Kelley’s back as the madman shot at the congregation’s guitar players.
“As I was crawling out I looked at the child, the pastor’s daughter,” he said. “She was dead.”
Ramirez called 911 as soon as he escaped.
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.”