WHITE SETTLEMENT, Texas (KETK) – Three people have been killed after a shooting Sunday morning inside a church in White Settlement.
The shooting occurred in West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, a suburb of Fort Worth, during services around 10:00 a.m.
Police responded to the shooting where they found the suspected gunman and one parishioner dead at the scene while a second died from life-threatening injuries after being taken to the hospital, according to NBC DFW.
NBC has confirmed one victim’s name as Anton “Tony” Wallace, 64. Wallace died at the hospital after sustaining life-threatening injuries.
The second victim has been identified as Richard White, 67, according to NBC-DFW. White’s daughter-in-law, Misty York White, called him a hero on Facebook: “You stood up against evil and sacrificed your life. Many lives were saved because of your actions. You have always been a hero to us but the whole world is seeing you as a hero now. We love you, we miss you, we are heartbroken.”
Police said the shooter was Keith Thomas Kinnunen, 43, according to NBC News. He had a criminal record in Tarrant County, which included charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in 2009 and theft of property in 2013. Law enforcement, including the Texas Rangers, searched Kinnunen’s home after the shooting.
A graphic video that is circling the internet shows a man who went walked up to a parishioner during the service. When he drew his weapon, another parishioner proceeded to draw his own as protection. That is when the gunman shot the parishioner and the one he originally walked up to. Suddenly a heroic parishioner shoots the gunman from across the sanctuary killing him.
“A man entered the church and fired a weapon,” said J.P. Bevering, White Settlement Police Chief. “A couple of members of the church returned fire, striking the gunman who died at the scene.”
Britt Farmer, senior minister of the church, said, “We lost two great men today, but it could have been a lot worse.”
They will have a church-wide meeting Monday at 6 p.m. and he said he will make a statement at 8 p.m.
Jack Wilson was the heroic parishioner who was credited with his quick actions by taking out the gunman preventing many more lives from being lost.
Authorities said there were more than 240 parishioners in the West Freeway Church at the time of the shooting.
“This country has seen so many of these that we’ve actually gotten used to it at this point,” said Jeoff Williams, DPS regional director for the North Texas Region. “It’s tragic and it’s just a terrible situation, especially during the holiday season.
“I would like to point out that we have a couple of heroic parishioners who stopped short of just anything that you could even imagine and saved countless lives and our hearts are going out to them and their families as well,” Williams added.
“Today, evil walked boldly among us, but let me remind you, good people raised up and stopped it before it got worse,” said Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn.
Gov. Greg Abbott asked the state to pray for the victims, their loved ones and the community of White Settlement, about 8 miles west of Fort Worth.
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick issued a statement regarding the tragic incident saying, “This shooting in a place of worship makes this evil crime even more horrific.”
DPS is investigating the shooting, with assistance from the FBI. This is the second church shooting in Texas in two years.
On November 5, 2017, a gunman shot and killed 25 people at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. Authorities put the official death toll at 26 because one of the victims was pregnant.
The White Settlement shooting comes only a day after five people were stabbed by an assailant reportedly carrying a machete as they gathered at a rabbi’s home north of New York City to celebrate Hanukkah.