Frank Pomeroy, the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, has confirmed that the church will not reopen following the mass shooting that ended the lives of 26 people last Sunday. While Pomeroy and his wife were not present at the church at the time of the killings, their 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle, was one of the victims.

The reasoning behind the decision

"There's too many that do not want to go back in there," Pomeroy told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. "We're playing it day by day right now."

He also mentioned that the space may be turned into a memorial eventually, though "I want to get through all the funerals before I do anything." A Sunday service is scheduled to be held at a nearby community center for the displaced members of the congregation.

Pomeroy added that it's still too soon to tell whether the First Baptist Church will be torn down and rebuilt.

How many congregants were affected

Though Sunday's horrific events have devastated the entire community of Sutherland Springs, wiping out an estimated seven percent of the town's population, the impact on the First Baptist Church congregation has been even more statistically significant. The church had about 100 regular members, meaning that roughly a quarter of them were killed in the rampage, with an additional 20 wounded.

The shooter, Devin Patrick Kelley, left the church after the rampage and was pursued by another congregant before authorities found him dead behind the wheel of his vehicle. While he had shot himself, it was unclear whether the bullet that ended his life was the one he'd fired himself.

The public response

What does the public have to say about the pastor's decision? As Pomeroy himself stated, it will be too painful for many of the church's members to return to the place where they saw so many of their fellow worshipers murdered, with a number of young children among them. Yet others claim that the First Baptist Church should not be demolished — that a holy place should remain as a symbol of faith and comfort, even throughout the darkest of times. Would the space be better served as a memorial to the victims, or should it be eradicated altogether?

Like the debate about gun control itself, this is a battle that will likely continue to rage on. President Trump has claimed that this shooting was not a "guns problem," but rather a mental health issue — a line parroted by many gun-rights proponents. Yet Democrats have likewise renewed their calls for tougher restrictions, particularly regarding the sale of automatic weapons, and have urged Congress to take action in the wake of the bloodshed.

For more details on the tragedy, click here. For more about gun control, see this article.