Texas church mass shooting leads to calls for prayer -- and gun control

PHOTO: Families gather at the community center awaiting news about the First Baptist Church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Nov. 5, 2017.PlayJoe Mitchell/Reuters
WATCH Mass shooting at church in Texas: Special report

Prayers, heartbreak and calls for gun control were among the responses Sunday to America's latest mass shooting, a massacre in a rural Texas church that killed at least 26 people and injured about 20 others.

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In the middle of church, 'we got calls from friends'

A neighboring church just two miles down the road from the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, where the mass shooting occurred Sunday morning, was in the middle of its service when congregants started getting calls about the bloodshed.

"We were in the middle of our church service when we got calls from friends," Pastor Paul Buford of River Oaks Church in Sutherland Springs told ABC News affiliate KSAT in San Antonio.

The River Oaks church members who work as emergency responders selflessly rushed out, Buford said.

As for the rest, "We immediately started praying."

"The victims are in the arms of their savior right now," Buford said. "And that’s what we stand on, and that’s the thing that’s going to keep us strong.

'Our hearts are with #Texas'

President Donald Trump tweeted from Japan where he is visiting as part of his Asia tour.

"May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas," he tweeted. "The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan."

First lady Melania Trump tweeted, “Our hearts are with #Texas”

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who was governor of South Carolina when Dylann Roof killed nine African American people at their church in 2015, said a church is sacred and that she has "no words."

“Praying for the families of Sutherland Springs. A church is the most sacred of places. No words,” she tweeted.

Former President Barack Obama, who had to respond to a mass shooting more than 14 times during his administration, expressed his condolences via Twitter.

"We grieve with all the families in Sutherland Springs harmed by this act of hatred, and we’ll stand with the survivors as they recover. May God also grant all of us the wisdom to ask what concrete steps we can take to reduce the violence and weaponry in our midst," Obama wrote in two tweets.

Support for prayers for victims, families, first responders

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz extended his support to everyone affected by the tragedy.

The other Texas Republican senator, John Cornyn, also offered his sentiments about the "truly heartbreaking news" in Sutherland Springs.

"Please say a prayer for First Baptist congregation, first responders & the community there," he tweeted.

'Enough is enough'

Some public officials called for action to try to stem gun violence.

Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal tweeted, "Enough is enough."

"Now is the time for commonsense gun violence prevention steps. Congressional complicity must end," he wrote.

Similarly, former Democratic Congresswoman and gunshot survivor Gabby Giffords said her "heart is with the people of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, their families and friends, and the first responders who rushed to the scene" but that current gun laws need to be changed.

"I am praying that our lawmakers find the courage to face our nation’s gun violence problem," she said in a statement. "We can build a safer future for our children, but preventing future tragedies requires a president who acknowledges our gun violence problem and members of Congress who will stand up to the gun lobby and take action to save lives."