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Texas church shooting: Small town makes big show of unity in face of deadly attack

iStock/Thinkstock(SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas) -- The close-knit nature of the rural Texas town that was the site of a deadly mass shooting this morning was on display when dozens gathered for a vigil this evening.

Twenty-six people attending services at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs died today after a shooter opened fire, first outside the building, then inside. At least 20 others were injured, authorities said.

Surviving members of the community gathered across the street from the church this evening for a candlelight vigil that served as a show of unity.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott traveled to Sutherland Springs, which is about 40 miles southeast of San Antonio, and encouraged people to come together in this time of mourning.

"Put your arm around your kid and let them know we love them," Abbott said.

"Tell your friend and your neighbor that you support them and you will work with them."

Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt lamented earlier today that the community's size didn't stop it from being a site of such a tragedy. Sutherland Springs has a population of about 643 people.

"It's something we all say does not happen in small communities," he said, "but we found out today that it does."

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