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Public service held for family that lost 8 members in Texas church shooting

Hundreds of mourners lined up to enter a funeral service Wednesday for eight members of a family who were among the more than two dozen people killed in a shooting at a small Texas church.

John Holcombe and his 7-year-old daughter Evelyn were able to survive their injuries

Mourners arrive at the funeral Wednesday for members of the Holcombe family, who were among the 26 fatalities in the First Baptist Church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Nov. 5. (Eric Gay/Associated Press)

Hundreds of mourners lined up to enter a funeral service Wednesday for eight members of a family who were among the more than two dozen killed in a shooting at a small Texas church.

At least seven hearses could be seen outside an event centre in Floresville, Texas, about 19 kilometres from the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, where the Nov. 5 shooting occurred.

Church member John Holcombe, one of the massacre's few survivors, held the funeral for his pregnant wife and three of her children, his parents, a brother and a toddler niece. The dead will be buried privately on an unspecified date.

News reporters were barred from entering inside the event centre and were held in a pen with two trucks obscuring the view inside.

The gunman, Devin Patrick Kelley, began firing into the church as John Holcombe's father, Bryan Holcombe, an assistant pastor, ascended to the pulpit. Walking up and down the centre aisles, Kelley killed 25 people at the church. Authorities have put the official toll at 26 because John Holcombe's wife, Crystal Holcombe, was pregnant.

This April 16, 2017, photo provided by Torie McCallum shows shooting victims John and Crystal Holcombe in Floresville, Texas. John survived but those fatally shot included his pregnant wife Crystal, three of her children, his parents, a brother and a toddler niece. (Torie McCallum via AP)

Holcombe was managing the church's audio-visual operations at the back of the building and escaped with minor injuries. His  seven-year-old step-daughter Evelyn also escaped the gunfire.

Kelley died of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he fled in a vehicle. Authorities say Kelley was involved in a domestic dispute with his mother-in-law, a member of the church who wasn't present that day.

Eight survivors remained hospitalized Wednesday at two San Antonio-area hospitals, their conditions ranging from good to critical.

Brooke Army Medical Center reported five adults; they were listed in good to critical condition. University Health System had two children and one adult still hospitalized, with their conditions ranging from fair to serious.

Further details on the hospitalized victims weren't released.

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