Funerals Wednesday for 9 Family Members Killed in Texas Church Shooting: 'We Know We'll Be Together Again'
Funeral services for the nine family members killed in the Nov. 5 mass shooting at a Sutherland Springs, Texas, church will be held Wednesday at 1 p.m., according to a Facebook post by John Holcombe — who lost his wife, unborn child, parents and other family members in the attack.
The Holcombe family comprised more than a third of the 26 people killed in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church: Bryan and Karla Holcombe, John’s father and mother; his wife, Crystal, and children Emily, Megan and Greg Hill from Crystal’s first marriage; their unborn child (under Texas law, an unborn child is counted as a victim); and John’s brother, Marc “Danny” Holcombe and Danny’s 17-month-old daughter, Noah.
Crystal’s oldest son, 15-year-old Philip Hill, was sick and didn’t go to church that day, the Hill family says. Crystal’s 7-year-old daughter, Evelyn, was in the congregation but survived along with John.
On Facebook Monday, Sarah Slavin, who is John’s sister, wrote: “If something you say makes me burst into tears, please just let me cry.
“Don’t apologize. It doesn’t mean you said the wrong thing,” she continues. “Don’t try to cheer me up. Just love me and let me cry. Hug me if you want but let me go if I try to pull away. Cry with me if you feel it. Love you all.”
The funeral services at the Floresville Event Center in nearby Floresville are open to the public, with burial at a later time, according to the announcement.
John and Crystal, 36 and a mom of five, had already picked out a name for their new baby: Carlin Brite Holcombe.
John posted on Facebook they didn’t yet know the sex of the child. Crystal was 18 weeks pregnant, a relative tells PEOPLE.
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Joe Holcombe, John’s grandfather, has told PEOPLE that the family’s tremendous faith has helped them through the tragedy. “It’s not as hard on us, because we know we’ll be together again and it will be for a long time this time,” he said.
Slavin spoke of her tremendous faith in a Facebook video about their parents, Bryan and Karla: “They are at peace right now, and I feel that peace. It’s tangible and undeniable.”
On Sunday, on the same day that its first worship service since the mass shooting was held, Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church opened its doors for visitors to pay their respects.
The church sanctuary has been transformed into a moving memorial for the victims, with 26 white folding chairs commemorating the dead at each of the spots where they were killed, reports CNN.
On each chair is a single red rose and the name of the shooting victim inscribed into the chair’s back, with a small pink rose for Crystal Holcombe’s unborn child next to his or her mother’s chair.