The Texas family that lost nine of its members in a horrific mass shooting earlier this month at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, held a joint public funeral on Wednesday that attracted thousands of attendees.
A venue that held 3,000 people was reportedly filled to capacity, as mourners showed up to honor the lives of the nine victims who were killed when gunman Devin Kelley burst into the church and murdered 26 people innocents.
In addition to the 3,000 inside the emotional event, hundreds of others had to be turned away from Franklin Funeral home due to space issues, according to ABC News.
The members of the Holcombe family who were memorialized during the event include: Crystal Holcombe, 36, her unborn baby, three of her kids, Greg, 13, Emily 11, and Megan, 9, Crystal’s in-laws, Bryan, 60, and Karla Holcombe, 58, and her brother-in-law Marc Colcombe, 36 and his 18-month-old daughter, Noah.
John Holcombe, husband of Crystal and father of the four children who were killed, invited the public to be part of the funeral; the burial will unfold at another date at an undisclosed location, The Daily Mail reported.
He had the unimaginable task of memorializing his wife, children and fellow loved ones and family members, as he stood before the thousands who came to mourn alongside him.
“She could take sick plants and heal them,” he said of his wife Crystal. “Like how she took a broken man and made him whole again.”
Regarding our baby, we don't know if it was a boy or a girl. It was too soon to tell. However, we have a name for our…
He also revealed that his unborn child would be named Carlin Brite “Billy Bob” Holcombe; it would have been his first biological child with his wife, as Crystal was a widow with five children when they met, The San Antonio News-Express reported. Holcombe revealed more about the baby’s name in a Nov. 8 Facebook Post:
Regarding our baby, we don’t know if it was a boy or a girl. It was too soon to tell. However, we have a name for our baby, who died in the womb.
Carlin Brite “Billy Bob” Holcombe
This includes Crystal’s pick for a girl, a boy, and the nickname the kids gave the baby.
Crystal was very thoughtful when coming up with these names. Carlin means small champion. It also sounds like Karla, Carolyn, and Charles.
“Billy Bob” is the nickname the kids gave the baby.
Holcombe shared laughter and tears as he remembered what was special about each of the couple’s children, according to The Victoria Advocate.
Crystal Holcombe’s sister, Bobbi Lynn Holland, said that the massive loss has had a deep impact on the family.
“The loss of our family members has left a huge hole in our hearts,” she said.
In addition to singing and humming “Amazing Grace,” those assembled released pink and blue balloons in honor of the family — moving tributes to the lost.
As previously reported, John Holcombe’s grandfather, Joe Holcombe, delivered a powerful tribute to the family’s faith during an interview with Faithwire last week, telling us that, despite the unimaginable carnage, he was remaining firm and resolute in his Christian faith.
“We’re strong,” he said before speaking of a future time when he believes he and his wife will see their family members again in heaven. “We’ll be with Bryan and his wife and the whole family one of these days — and we look forward to that.”