In a drizzle-shrouded cemetery, this small town in South Texas that endured one of the most horrific mass shootings in United States history began on Saturday to bury its dead.
Mourners gathered on the edge of Sutherland Springs for the funeral of two victims in last Sunday’s massacre: Richard Rodriguez, 64, a retired railroad foreman, and Therese Rodriguez, 66, a retired receptionist at the railroad maintenance company where they both had worked.
The married couple was among the 26 parishioners, including children, who were killed by a gunman at First Baptist Church. Convulsing this town of a few hundred people, the mass shooting was the latest of several across the United States.
Residents here are bracing for the many more funerals to come.
“This has been a trying day — well, a trying week,” Frank Pomeroy, the pastor at First Baptist Church, told the several dozen people gathered on a cemetery hill as he choked back tears.
“But remember: God will — no, God has — prevailed,” said the visibly shaken Mr. Pomeroy, whose 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle, died in the shooting.
Several hundred people had attended a memorial service on Saturday at Grace Bible Church in the nearby town of La Vernia. As people wept, Erin Weaver, the church’s senior pastor, read from Psalm 23, proclaiming, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”