Everything We Know About Sunday's Church Shooting

Holly Matkin

An armed parishioner fatally shot the gunman who murdered two men in the middle of a church service on Sunday.

White Settlement, TX – An armed parishioner fatally shot the gunman who murdered two men in the middle of a church service on Sunday (video below).

Approximately 250 people were inside the West Freeway Church of Christ when the gunman attacked just before 11 a.m., The Dallas Morning News reported.

The entire incident lasted just six seconds, according to The New York Times.

“They saved a lot of lives today,” church minister Jack Cummings told The New York Times. “Because this thing would have been a massacre otherwise.”

During the service, members of the church’s volunteer security team took note of a man who they believed was “acting suspiciously,” Cummings said.

The team of parishioners, all of whom are licensed to carry firearms, train with their weapons frequently, according to the minister.

Footage from the church’s livestream of the service showed the suspect as he made his way out of the pew to receive communion, WFAA reported.

He walked away briefly before he turned back towards the man who just served him communion.

The gunman appeared to speak with him for a moment, then suddenly pulled out a shotgun, the video showed.

A man seated nearby rose to his feet and reached back towards his waistband, but was immediately shot by the gunman.

The suspect then shot the man he had been speaking to, just as a member of the church’s volunteer security team returned fire, dropping the gunman with a single shot.

At least three other parishioners also drew their weapons and approached the wounded gunman as frantic churchgoers fled the sanctuary or sought cover beneath their pews.

“He was immediately hit by one of our marksmen,” Cummings told The New York Times. “The next thing I know, he was lying on the floor.”

The gunman and two male churchgoers were killed during the attack.

According to USA Today, one person died at the scene, another died while en route to the hospital, and a third died at the hospital.

One of the victims was a member of the security team, Cummings told The New York Times.

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) described the actions of the men who stopped the gunman as “heroic,” according to USA Today.

“It cannot be overstated how important it is that everyone recognize what took place here today,” DPS Regional Director Jeoff Williams said during a press conference on Sunday. “The citizens who were inside that church undoubtedly saved 242 other parishioners.”

Two other churchgoers suffered minor injuries while attempting to escape from the scene, KTVT reported.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno said that the shooter was “relatively transient,” but that he did have ties to the area.

The identities of the victims and the gunman have not been released, and investigators have not disclosed a possible motive.

SAC DeSarno said the shooter had a history of prior arrests, but that he was not on any watch lists, The New York Times reported.

Church member Tiffany Wallace said that her father, 64-year-old Anton “Tony” Wallace, was one of the two men who were murdered during the attack, KXAS reported.

Wallace, a deacon and lifelong member of the church, was also a registered nurse, father, grandfather, and husband.

“It just happened so fast,” said Tiffany, who was just feet away from her father when he was killed. “The guy just stood up from the pew, turned toward my dad and I guess he shot at the security guard…I ran toward my dad and the last thing I remember is him asking for oxygen and I was just holding him, telling him I loved him and that he was going to make it.”

Wallace was rushed to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds, KXAS reported.

Tiffany described her father as a “godly person,” and said he had previously told her that he was “always prepared” to go to heaven.

“But you never thought this would happen,” she told KXAS.

Tiffany said she has forgiven the gunman, but that she is thankful that the armed parishioners stopped him before he could slaughter more innocent people.

“He is a hero to me,” she said of the security team member.

The church’s senior minister, Britt Farmer, said he appreciates the fact that he lives in a country where people have the right to defend themselves and others.

“We lost two great men today,” Farmer said, according to The New York Times. “It could have been a lot worse. I’m thankful that our government has allowed us the opportunity to protect ourselves.”

A new law allowing licensed firearms owners to carry weapons in places of worship went into effect in Texas in September.

Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn said that the attacked marked “a horrific day in Tarrant County,” The Dallas Morning News reported.

“Today evil walked boldly among us,” Sheriff Waybourn said. “But let me remind you, good people raised up and stopped it before it got worse.”

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick praised the armed citizens for their prompt and heroic actions, KXAS reported.

“This team responded quickly and within six seconds, the shooting was over,” Patrick said, according to USA Today. “Two of the parishioners who were volunteers of the security force drew their weapons and took out the killer immediately, saving untold number of lives.”

“Had the shooter been able to indiscriminately start firing into the parishioners sitting there in front of him or the pastor, we would have had many more lives lost today and many more serious injuries,” he said, according to KTVT.

Texas Governor Greg Abbot denounced the attack, calling it an “evil act of violence.”

"I am grateful for the church members who acted quickly to take down the shooter and help prevent further loss of life," the governor said. "Cecilia and I ask all Texans to join us in praying for the White Settlement community and for all those affected by this horrible tragedy."

You can watch footage from the church’s livestream in the video below. WARNING - Graphic Content:

Comments (52)
IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

The only thing that stops a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun.

I'm sure the church members wished they never needed armed security, but were happy that they had armed members there who were able to neutralize the domestic terrorist threat quickly with minimal loss of innocent life.

No. 1-19
jakki taylor
jakki taylor

The Catholic churches that I have attended in the past several years either have formal armed security details and/or lots of off duty, armed cops.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

#circularfiringsquad

Armyveteran
Armyveteran

Most churches in the south are about 80 percent armed. Welcome to the south, dumb move on his part and well done to those who legally carry for times like this. Thank God for good people with guns, many lives were saved here.

Armyveteran
Armyveteran

I would never attend a church that bans guns, that's just DUMB plain and simple. These crazies are looking for soft target locations I tend to boycott any place that has a no gun sign on the entrance. That's not going to keep out the crazies only the people who can protect.

Fm2176
Fm2176

"A new law allowing licensed firearms owners to carry weapons in places of worship went into effect in Texas in September."

What? No, it can't be! If those evil lawfully abiding gun owners didn't have their implements of death this would have never happened. #triggered

In all seriousness, though, my condolences to the families of the deceased victims. It's sad we have to see so many of these crimes, but I'm glad some states pass common sense laws designed to protect their citizens.

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

It was less than four months ago that Texas repealed its law restricting carrying into houses of worship. Things could have gone done quite differently, had the church been a "gun-free" zone...

Texas Allows Guns in Churches, Schools After Firearm Access Laws Expanded, Effective September 1, 2019

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

How does someone with a shotgun sneak into a place with armed security?

Darkwing219
Darkwing219

Current information available leads to believe that The persons with the guns in the video are the churches actual security and safety detail, They are selected by the church and in most cases made up of either law enforcement officers current or retired and active or retired military personnel that have been vetted by the church and have conceal carry permits with full background checks done. At least that is how it is at my church here in Florida and I know the other churches in our area run the same way. Sad day when churches and other places of worship and prayer are in need of armed security details. But thank the lord they had them. Another POS down praise the lord and pass the ammunition!!

dcoskrey
dcoskrey

Not saying I'm any better … but damn, the guy who stood up casually fishing for his weapon in full view of the shooter, that was suicide.

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

Jack Wilson, man who took out the shooter, had previously served as a Hood County Reserve Deputy Sheriff from 1980 to 1986. He trained other members of the congregation. He is running for 3rd precinct commissioner. Pretty sure he is going to win...

SmileAndWave
SmileAndWave

If only they hadn't removed God from... never mind.

M4Defense
M4Defense

Common sense, good training & situational awareness. Great job, gentlemen. My condolences to the families of those who lost their lives.

Lvmycounty
Lvmycounty

Just goes to show, if you have somebody that also has a weapon, that levels the playing field, and the gunman hopefully will always lose.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

Here's your shooter. @Jim H. - Virginia US, go ahead and post his lengthy rap sheet.

vpassenheim
vpassenheim

Minister should have said that we have a government that understands that rights come from God, not men, and that we as a people have recognized every citizen's God-given right to self-defense.

gfc1963
gfc1963

Good shooting. Looked like a head shot as well!

Ladytiel
Ladytiel

What would have occurred if a parishioner had not been carrying a gun? How many more would have been slaughtered in a place of worship? We are far too many, who want to remove guns from the general public for their own safety. However, the largest majority of shootings and killing are being done by gangs, criminals, and people who are mentally unfit to own a gun. Without the right to own a gun, we become sitting ducks who are easily robbed, attacked, raped or murdered because someone did not like our religion, our race, or us in general.

Rdwaryer63
Rdwaryer63

While the long coat in itself was not enough to give reason for a search, the fact that Jack Wilson and several other security team members said they recognized he was wearing a fake beard and wig as well would have justified taking action to insure he wasn't a threat. Always trust your gut, especially if you're current or former LE. Your experience and training is telling you something is amiss.


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