Shooting’s pall shrouds Texas veterans ceremony

First responders join in prayer following a Veterans Day event, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, near the Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. A man opened fire inside the church in the small South Texas community on Sunday, killing more than two dozen. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas (AP) – A line of first responders and law enforcement personnel stood with heads bowed in Sutherland Springs for a Veterans Day ceremony that also was meant to honor the more than two dozen people killed a block away at a church.

About 100 people gathered Saturday outside the community center for the ceremony, where a wreath was placed near flags to remember those killed last weekend. Nearly half of the shooting victims had ties to the U.S. Air Force.

Wilson County Judge Richard Jackson’s voice broke as he thanked the first responders and others who rushed to First Baptist Church in the aftermath of the shooting. Jackson, the county’s top administrator, says the scene will affect them the rest of their lives.

Jackson said he hopes Saturday’s ceremony will start a healing process “to put this horrific tragedy behind us and look to the future.”

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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