In a heartbreaking Facebook post, a Sunday school teacher who lost his pregnant wife, parents, brother, and three of his children after a gunman opened fire at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, revealed that he and his wife had picked a name for their unborn child.
“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,” John Holcombe, whose wife, Crystal, was among the 26 gunned down on Sunday, wrote.
“This includes Crystal’s pick for a girl, a boy, and the nickname the kids gave the baby,” he said. “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, who suffered a bullet wound to the leg, met Crystal at First Baptist in 2011, and the two married in 2012. Crystal, a 36-year-old mother of five, was about 18 weeks pregnant with her sixth child when she was killed.
Three of her children from her first marriage – Emily, Greg and Megan – were also killed along with John’s parents, Brian and Karla Holcombe; his brother Marc Holcombe; and Marc’s infant daughter, Noah.
According to a GoFundMe account set up for the Holcombe family, John’s father, an associate pastor, was to preach that day. As he ascended the pulpit, the shooting began and he was one of the first to be killed.
Crystal’s oldest son, 15-year-old Philip, was sick and didn’t go to church that day, and her 7-year-old daughter, Evelyn, was in the congregation but survived along with her stepfather.
In a previous Facebook post, John Holcombe asked for continued prayer as he grapples with the tragic event.
“Thank you all for your love, prayers, and support,” he wrote. “Philip, Evelyn, and myself thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Please continue to pray for us in the coming days / weeks / months as we work through all of the issues. I ask for prayers for health, healing, guidance, wisdom, discernment, understanding, protection, and God’s will in our decisions and in our lives. Also please keep our Church family in your prayers. Thank you!”
Two separate GoFundMe campaigns created for the Holcombe family has raised over $770,000 as of Thursday morning.
“John is an incredibly good guy,” reads one account. “He married a widow with 5 children, took them as his own. Now, as he and Crystal were preparing to have their first together, this horrific murder took his wife and unborn child.”
“Friends, please pray for John, his remaining family, and his church,” it continues. “Please consider giving to this fund that will assist John with funeral arrangements and burials for the staggering cost of nine family members. Maybe in this small way we can ease a bit of John’s undeserved pain.”