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Pastor may demolish Texas church where massacre took place

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The pastor of a rural Texas church sprayed with gunfire in a shooting rampage that killed 26 people is considering demolishing the building and putting a memorial in its place, a Southern Baptist Convention official said on Thursday.

Devin Kelley, the 26-year-old gunman, stormed into the Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church on Sunday and opened fire on worshipers with a semi-automatic assault rifle in the deadliest mass shooting in modern Texas history. Authorities said the attack stemmed from a domestic dispute.

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Pastor Frank Pomeroy met with Southern Baptist Convention leaders, who came to help console victims, and “expressed his desire to raze the building,” convention spokesman Roger Oldham said in a telephone interview.

The white-steepled church, located about 40 miles east (65 km) of San Antonio, was riddled with bullets.

The building can hold about 75 people. Pomeroy said using it again could be emotionally painful, according to Oldham.

After making a statement on the shooting on Monday, Pomeroy has declined requests to speak with the media.

Pomeroy and his wife, Sherri, were out of town during the shooting, which killed their 14-year-old daughter. The pastor is considering planting a memorial garden on the site, Oldham said.

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A worship service will take place on Sunday in Sutherland Springs behind a community center not far from the church, Sherri Pomeroy posted on Facebook on Thursday.

The service will “show the world that we may be knocked down temporarily but WE ARE NOT DEFEATED,” she wrote. “Please come help us honor their lives doing what they died for: worshipping our sovereign God!”Authorities have said Kelley, found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head after a failed attempt to make his getaway, was embroiled in a domestic dispute involving the parents of his second wife.

One of the women killed at the church, Lula Woicinski White, 71, was reported to be the gunman’s grandmother-in-law.

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Kelley is a former Air Force airman who was convicted in 2012 by court-martial for assaulting his first wife and infant step-son. He served a year in military detention.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Texas Governor Greg Abbott were among those who attended a prayer vigil on Wednesday evening at a high school football stadium in nearby Floresville.

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(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Additional reporting by Lisa Maria Garza in San Antonio; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Lisa Von Ahn)


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‘This is the president of betrayal’: MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch explains how Democrats can use impeachment to defeat Trump in 2020

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Democrats don't appear to have convinced Senate Republicans to convict President Donald Trump, but MSNBC's Donny Deutsch said they can use findings from the impeachment hearings to campaign against him next year.

The "Morning Joe" contributor urged Democrats to develop a coherent theme based on the findings turned up by House investigators to convince voters to do what congressional Republicans aren't willing to do -- remove the president from office.

"Does anybody know 'Bob Loves Abishola'?" Deutsch asked. "That's a show on CBS, you know, had about five, six million viewers the other night. That's what these hearings have done. We live in a little bit of a bubble that we sit here and we watch. The reality is, when you look at that new Emerson poll where we've lost 5 percent of people who even believe he should be impeached and 14 percent removed from office."

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Victoria’s Secret to cancel annual fashion show

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US lingerie brand Victoria's Secret said it was cancelling its annual fashion show which usually draws millions of TV viewers, saying it was shifting its marketing strategy following criticism and weak financial results.

"Did we see a specific material impact on short-term sales in response to the airing of the fashion show?" asked Stuart Burgdoerfer, the finance director of parent company L Brands.

"As a general matter, the answer to that question is no," he told analysts in a conference call Thursday.

He added that Victoria's Secret would be "communicating to customers, but nothing that I would say is similar in magnitude to the fashion show".

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Democrats intend to present Mueller findings in next round of impeachment hearings

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House Democrats would like to hold at least one impeachment hearing on findings from Robert Mueller's report, but must first sort out court challenges to witnesses and evidence from that investigation.

Roger Stone's trial, which ended in a guilty verdict on all seven counts, raised new questions about whether President Donald Trump perjured himself in written responses to the special counsel's questions, and Democrats may present that evidence and examine Mueller's findings on obstruction of justice, reported Politico.

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