In what appears to be the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history, a gunman opened fire at a First Baptist Church in the small community of Sutherland Springs on Sunday, killing 26 and injuring dozens. During a press conference, Texas Governor Greg Abbott made mention of a brave man who confronted the shooter—identified by unnamed law enforcement officials as 26-year-old Devin Kelley of New Braunfels, Texas—causing him to flee.
As CBS News correspondent David Begnaud tweeted, the suspect was dressed in all black when he entered the church around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Suspect was dressed in all black when he walked in to the church and started shooting, a Samaritan grabbed his gun and "engaged" him
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) November 5, 2017
A local resident,who has yet to be identified, reportedly grabbed his own rifle and engaged the shooter, causing the man to get into his vehicle and drove off. The gunman was reportedly shot by police about five miles away from the church, after a brief chase resulted in him being cornered by deputies.
Another neighbor, identified by local news outlet KSAT 12 as Johnnie Langendorff, heard the gunshots and went outside to investigate.
When he got outside, he saw the hero civilian engaging with the church shooter. Langedorff described the ordeal to the local outlets:
Here’s the account, via the NY Post:
“I pulled up to the intersection where the shooting happened and I saw two men exchanging gunfire, the other being a citizen of the community,” he said. “The shooter of the church had taken off, fled in his vehicle, and the other gentleman came and he said, ‘We need to pursue him,’ that he just shot up the church. So that’s what I did. I just acted.”
Langedorff told reporters that he didn’t know the brave good Samaritan who put his life on the line, but he was willing to help him immediately.
“Whenever he came to my vehicle in distress with his weapon he explained very quickly what happened and he got in the truck and I knew it was just time [to go].”
“So we were doing about 95mph, going around traffic and everything,” he added. “Eventually he came to kind of a slowdown and after that, we got within just a few feet of him and he got off the road…He just lost control and that’s when I put the vehicle in park…The other gentleman jumped out and had his rifle drawn on him and he didn’t move after that.”
According to Langendorff, it took cops about five to seven minutes to arrive on the scene — and the neighbor kept his gun on Kelley the entire time.
“The police arrived and they pushed us back and they took care of the rest,” he said.
The cowboy hat-wearing citizen told KSAT he only had one thing on his mind while he was chasing Kelley with the armed neighbor: “Try and get him.”
“It was strictly just acting on what the right thing to do was.”
Amazing. God bless these men and anyone else who selflessly stepped in to help, in the process risking their own lives. They most certainly saved countless lives because of their actions.