Thursday, September 16, 1999 Published at 06:50 GMT 07:50 UK
Teenagers die in US church shooting
Seven people were killed and another seven injured
A gunman has opened fire in a church filled with young people in the US state of Texas, killing seven people including three teenagers, before shooting himself dead.
The man, dressed in black and smoking a cigarette, fired indiscriminately at worshippers inside Wedgewood Baptist Church, Fort Worth, before firing on police.
The shooting happened at about 1900 local time (0000 GMT) during a rally attended by hundreds of young people at Wedgewood Baptist Church, in Fort Worth, about 30 miles west of Dallas.
Witnesses said that when the gunman entered the church, a number of the congregation thought it was part of a play.
Chris Applegate, who was in choir practice when the gunman came into the room, said: "We were singing a song and then in the middle of the song this guy opened the door and fired one shot.
"He just kept telling us to stay still. I was wondering whether it was real or not."
Before the police arrived the gunman had reloaded several times while the congregation ran and tried to hide under pews.
Some witnesses said he also threw a pipe bomb inside the church.
Bodies left inside
Police sealed off the area as technicians searched for evidence.
Just after the shooting a pipe bomb exploded on a balcony inside the building, reports say, but police did not know of any injuries.
A bomb squad was inspecting several suspicious packages found at the church, Lt David Ellis of the Fort Worth Police Department said.
Police feared the gunman had wired himself with explosives, so a robot was sent in to search his body for explosives.
Spectators were moved back several blocks because of reports that there might be more incendiary devices.
The gunman, who has not been identified, was believed to be in his 20s or 30s, and according to Lt Ellis was using a large-calibre handgun that appeared to be automatic.
Texas Governor George W Bush said in a statement: "This is a terrible tragedy made worse by the fact that it took place in a house of hope and love.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and the congregation."