Texas church demolition on hold after restraining order | WORLD
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Texas church demolition on hold after restraining order

In this Nov. 12, 2017, file photo, a man walks out of the memorial for the victims of a shooting at Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. The Associated Press/Photo by Eric Gay, File

Texas church demolition on hold after restraining order

A district court judge placed a temporary restraining order on First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Texas on Tuesday, bringing its plans to demolish the existing sanctuary to a halt.

The church was the site of a mass shooting in 2017 in which a gunman killed 26 people and injured several others. In 2021, church members voted to demolish the sanctuary where the massacre occurred.

Who pursued the restraining order? Deanna Staton, a church member at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, and two others sued the church in May. The suit said that Staton, along with other members, were removed from First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs membership before the vote to demolish the sanctuary in a manner violating the church’s bylaws. The suit alleged that this was a strategic move meant to skew the vote outcome.

What did the order say? The judge wrote in the order that the church may not move forward with its demolition plans, nor may it make any changes to the structure of the building until the case is heard and decided. The order said that the plaintiffs would be irreparably injured if the demolition proceeded on schedule.

The bond in the order is set at $5,000. The church was ordered to appear before the court for a hearing on the injunction on July 15.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Mickey McLean’s report on the day of the shooting.

Catherine Gripp

Catherine Gripp is a graduate of World Journalism Institute.

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