U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- On 29 December, at about 10:50 a.m. a masked attacker, who had sat in the service at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, close to Fort Worth Texas, opened fire, first on an armed church member, then on an unarmed congregant. The attacker is shot by another armed congregant. The action was over in six seconds.
By the 35 second mark, there were six to seven armed congregants at the scene. There was no crossfire. There was no mistaken identity shooting. Only three or four shots were fired. Two or three by the attacker, one by the defender.
The action was all captured on live stream video from the church.
The first two shots fired by the attacker were from a few feet. The defender, a cool pistol shot under fire, was 12-14 yards away, using different scaling assumptions from the video.
The attacker may have fired a third shot as he was hit. It may have occurred by reflex at being shot. A flash on the wall, at the time he was hit, could indicate a third shot, which did not hit anyone. The pump shotgun appeared to be pointing toward the pulpit at that time.
Police officers praised the armed congregants for their heroic defense against the attacker. From Dallas Morning News:
“I would like to point out that we have a couple of heroic parishioners,” Williams said. “Our hearts are going out to them and their families as well.”
He said their quick actions had saved the lives of nearly 250 other churchgoers.
Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Wayborn applauded the armed congregants:
“Today evil walked boldly among us,” he said. “But let me remind you, good people raised up and stopped it before it got worse.”
From my experience, serving as voluntary armed church security in Yuma, Arizona, it appears the volunteer security team saw the attacker as a potential threat, due to his outlandish costume and behavior.
The security team was watching him but was not quite fast enough to stop friendly casualties.
The first to go down had drawn his pistol when he saw the shotgun, but the pistol was about 45 degrees from horizontal when he was shot at point blank range with what appears to be a pump shotgun. Then the attacker shoots an unarmed usher who is holding what appears to be a collection plate. The attacker is backing away from the usher, toward the pulpit, and starts to bring the pump shotgun to bear on the pulpit when he is shot by the second armed parishioner, about five seconds after the first armed congregant starts to draw.
The pistol shooter started to draw close to the same time as the first armed congregant but needs an extra second to aim and fire. It was a shot that took skill and grace under fire. He is in a classic two-handed hold, clearly using the sights. In the video, you can see the slide cycling on his semi-automatic pistol, after the shot.
More details will be revealed during the next few hours or days. The attacker and the armed defender who was shot died quickly. The wounded parishioner made it alive to the hospital but expired within a few hours.
Your correspondent was only 5.7 miles away when the incident occurred, and arrived less than an hour after the shooting. There was little information to be gained at the scene. The press was kept about 100 yards from the Church property. The presser by the police did not allow questions.
Later releases revealed the attacker had a history with the police and a connection of some kind to the Fort Worth area.
This is another mass killing stopped by an armed defender.
This one was recorded live, on video. It dispels many of the myths about voluntary armed defenders. Consider how different the outcome would have been in New Zealand if six or seven members of the mosque had been armed.
The response by the gun culture has been swift. Mary Bull, of Benbrook Lakeside, has offered concealed handgun classes to all church groups for $20 a person. She is a retired police officer.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.