An armed civilian now identified as Jack Wilson was able to save multiple lives on Sunday, Dec 29 as a shooter took over the morning worship at the White Settlement West Freeway Church of Christ in North Texas.
“I just want to thank all who have sent their prayers and comments on the events of today. The events at West Freeway Church of Christ put me in a position that I would hope no one would have to be in, but evil exists and I had to take out an active shooter in church,” Wilson posted on his Facebook page. “I’m thankful to GOD that I have been blessed with the ability and desire to serve him in the role of head of security at the church. I am very sad in the loss of two dear friends and brothers in CHRIST, but evil does exist in this world and I and other members are not going to allow evil to succeed.”
Wilson is aso said to be a firearms instructor and appears by his Facebook page to be running for Pct. 3 Commissioner for Hood County.
“Our hearts go out to the victims and families of those killed in the evil act of violence that occurred at the West Freeway Church of Christ. 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. 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,” stated Gov. Greg Abbott on Dec 29 after he received word of the shooting.
The morning worship was live-streaming the service, and the gunman appeared to have been sitting in on the service. He is seen in the video getting up to receive communion before opening fire.
A Wilson, identified as head of security for the church, was standing along the back wall can be seen in the video reaching for his weapon just seconds after the gunman fired the first shot.
The gunman was able to get off three shots before the security guard took aim and shot the gunman. From there the guard continued to walk towards the now fatality shot gunman ready with his weapon while parishioners began to exit the building. Several others in the church also pulled their weapons in what is believed to ensure the scene was safe.
Unfortunately, two of the three lives taken have been identified. Two victims were taken to the hospital but soon died from their injuries. Their names have not yet been officially released, but church members identified the two men to CBS News as Tony Wallace and Richard White. The third was the gunman who has not yet been officially identified.
“We lost two great men today, but it could have been a lot worse,” said Britt Farmer, senior minister at the church. “And I am thankful that our government has allowed us the opportunity to protect ourselves.”
A new state law that went into effect on Sept 1, which was borne after the deadly attack in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, in 2017, strikes down a previous provision that said handguns are not allowed in churches, synagogues, or other places of worship.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in a press conference Dec 29 that thanks to that law, an “untold number of lives” were saved.
“This church had its own security team. They were well-trained. The heroism today is unparalleled. This team responded quickly and within six seconds, the shooting was over,” said Patrick. “Had the shooter been able to start firing at the parishioners indiscriminately, we would have had many more lives lost today.”
“The threat was stopped thanks to the quick and heroic actions of those safety members inside the church,” said White Settlement Police Chief JP Bevering. “I want to ask again for your prayers and support for everybody at the church, the parishioners, and those involved in this tragedy.”
It is still unknown at this time as to what drove the shooter to take action. Lt. Gov Dan Patrick did say in the press conference after the event, that speaking with Gov Greg Abbott, the state will be pledging their total commitment to the church, and to law enforcement, “Whatever they need we will put all of our state resources here for this community.”
“The heroism today was unparallel,” added Patrick. Further stating that the security team that worked for the church were well trained.
For now, officials are continuing to investigate all aspects of what happened and asking the public to keep the parishioners, family, and friends of the two men killed in their prayers.
Above right: Jack Wilson / Photo obtained from Jack Wilson County Commissioner for Precinct 3 Campaign Facebook page
Top: Photos of Tony Wallace and Richard White obtained via google search