Texas church shooting: 'Multiple deaths' and gunman killed, say police

They said the shooter walked into the church shortly before noon - at a morning service that witnesses said was normally attended by some 50 people and opened fire.

As many as 27 people are thought dead and 20 wounded after a man opened fire after walking into a Baptist church in the small Texan town of Sutherland Springs.

Police say there are "multiple victims", but an exact number of injured or dead was not immediately available.

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Federal law enforcement swarmed the small community 30 miles southeast of San Antonio after the attack to offer assistance, including ATF investigators and members of the FBI's evidence collection team.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the shooting an "evil act". She declined to give a specific number but said it was less than a dozen. Sunday's incident comes just five weeks after the deadliest mass shooting in recent USA history shook Las Vegas, with 58 people killed. The shooter was also reported killed.

The Connally Memorial Medical Center in nearby Floresville, Texas, is "accepting and assessing victims" from the Sutherland Springs church shooting, according to hospital spokeswoman Megan Posey.

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"The people of Sutherland Springs need our prayers right now", Ryan wrote on Twitter.

U.S. media report children were among the victims. He added that he is "monitoring the situation from Japan".

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, tweeted: "Keeping all harmed in Sutherland Springs in our prayers and grateful for our courageous first responders on the scene".

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Photos and video from the scene showed the area taped off by local law enforcement.

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