A courageous congregant is being hailed a hero for saving more than 200 fellow parishioners at the Texas Church shooting Sunday.
Two people were killed by an allegedly disguised gunman who opened fire at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement during mass around 10 a.m. Jack Wilson, a 70-year-old volunteer security guard for the church, owned his own shooting range and is believed to be a retired FBI agent.
“My understanding is, he was a reserve deputy and had significant training, had his own shooting range, had taught other people how to shoot, had taught many people in this church how to be prepared,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement Monday. “He’s not just responsible for his actions, which ultimately saved the lives of maybe hundreds of people, but he’s also responsible for training hundreds in that church.”
Wilson acknowledged his heroic act shortly after the shooting and said it was faith that led him to “take out an active shooter in church,” according to a tweet of a screenshot of his Facebook post.
“Evil does exist in this world and I and other members are not going to allow evil to succeed,” the post read.
The nightmare began Sunday morning, when a man believed to be wearing a disguise pulled out a shotgun. A nearby congregant was seen on the livestream reaching into his rear waistband, but the gunman was able to killing two men near him before he was shot.
A woman appeared hysterical as she rushed to a victim’s side. She is believed to be his daughter.
Nearly all 240 people attending mass that morning had hidden under the pews during the horrifying incident, which was over in six seconds.
One of the two slain church members is 64-year-old registered nurse Anton Wallace. He was the deacon of the church outside of Fort Worth. He was rushed to the hospital but died before he arrived, his daughter, Tiffany Wallace, said in an interview with NBC DFW.
“He was amazing,” she said. “He was a godly person, and even when we talked about going to heaven he always said, ‘I’m always prepared.’ But you never thought this would happen.”
A second victim, 67-year-old Richard White, was a grandfather. He worked as a sales manager at a manufacturing company, according to his Facebook.
Authorities have not yet independently confirmed the identity of the victims.
Guns are allowed in places of worship in Texas, thanks to a law that was passed in the wake of a 2017 shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas that left 26 people dead.
“Places of worship are meant to be sacred, and I am grateful for the church members who acted quickly to take down the shooter and help prevent further loss of life,” Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement.