SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas (CBS SF) — Across the country, hearts ached for Rev. Frank Pomeroy and his wife, Sherri, as they stood in front of the news media Monday.
The couple, who have been married for over 30 years and lived and preached in the small Texas community of Sutherland Springs, were in the middle of an unimaginable nightmare.
A heavily gunman had walked into their church during Sunday services and opened fire, killing 26 church members and wounding another 20. Among the dead was their 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle Renee Pomeroy.
“We had a long night with the children and grand-babies we have left,” said Frank Pomeroy, who was in Oklahoma when the shooting took place.
Then he leaned on his wife as she read a prepared statement that she had also published on Facebook.
“Frank and I want to say thank you to all the outpouring of love for our family, from family, friends and complete strangers,” said Sherri who was in Florida at the time of the shooting.
“The news media have been bombarding us with requests to share and comment (on) Annabel’s life,” she said. “However, as much tragedy as that entails for our family we don’t want to overshadow the other lives lost yesterday. We lost more than Bell yesterday.”
Sherri said one thing that gives her some peace is knowing her daughter was surrounded by their beloved parishioners when she died.
“One thing that gives me a sliver encouragement is the fact that Bell was surrounded yesterday by her church family that she loved fiercely, and vice versa,” she said. “Our church was not comprised of members or parishioners. We were a family, a close family, we ate together, we laughed together, we cried together and we worshiped together. Now most of our church family is gone.”
“The few of us that are left behind lost tragically yesterday. As senseless as this tragedy was. Our sweet Bell would not have been able to deal with losing so much family yesterday.”
Frank Pomeroy said he was leaning on his faith to get through this dark time.
“You lean into what you don’t understand, you lean into the Lord,” he told the media. “And I would submit this to everyone, my family here and you guys there. Whatever life brings to you –lean on the Lord rather than your own understanding. I don’t understand, but I know my God does and that’s where I’ll leave it at.”