Air Force veterans among those killed in Texas church massacre

SUTHERLAND SPRING, Texas -- As the investigation continues into the mass shooting at a church in South Texas, CBS News is learning more about the victims who were gunned down.

Like the 26-year-old killer, some of the dead were U.S. Air Force veterans. Their deaths are in stark contrast to the lives they lived -- lives defined by a love for God and serving their country.

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Shani and Robert Corrigan

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Robert Corrigan and his wife, Shani, epitomized that devotion at their church and in their community -- a deeply patriotic one.

Corrigan moved to Sutherland Springs two years ago after a decorated 30-year career in the Air Force.

As chief master sergeant of the 55th medical group at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, he led the largest and busiest in the Air Combat Command, running continuous operations in the Middle East and North Africa since 1991.

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Chief Master Sgt. Robert Corrigan 

CBS News

In other words, Chief Master Sgt. Corrigan was "everything his killer was not," as pointed out on a veterans website.

Bob and Jeann Sommers, his uncle and aunt, spoke to CBS News.

"They lost a young man that loved the military, that loved to serve his country," Jeann said.

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Scott and Karen Marshall

CBS Pittsburgh

Scott and Karen Marshall were also in the Air Force, stationed in North Carolina. They met in the barracks.

Mike Norton had known the couple since then. He even took their wedding photos.

"I knew that I had a brother and sister that had my back," Norton told CBS News.

Both families are reminiscent of the deep sense of service that runs through this part of Texas. Both have sons on active duty -- their loss still unfathomable to those who worshipped with them.

"It is just hard to imagine, these poor innocent people that had no idea ... They were never returning back," Gloria Rodriguez told CBS News.

A memorial of 26 crosses is just one of many throughout town as the community copes with its shared grief.

There are funeral plans underway that may include a mass service for everyone to worship together.

  • Michelle Miller

    Michelle Miller is an award-winning CBS News correspondent based in New York, reporting for all CBS News broadcasts and platforms. Her work regularly appears on the "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley", "CBS This Morning" and "CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood". She joined CBS News in 2004.