The senior minister of a Texas church at the center of a shooting incident has spoken out about the horrific ordeal.
Two people were shot dead at West Freeway Church of Christ outside Fort Worth on Sunday before the gunman was downed by an armed parishioner.
According to Fox News, the gunman entered the church and sat down in one of the pews before pulling out a shotgun and shooting two people dead. An armed member of the congregation, who was also on the church’s security team, immediately returned fire, killing the assailant before he could fire any more shots.
“The suspect was stopped thanks to the quick and heroic actions of those safety members inside the church,” said White Settlement Police Chief J.P. Bevering.
That was a message echoed by Senior Minister Britt Farmer himself, who added that he was “thankful our government has allowed us the opportunity to protect ourselves.”
“We lost two great men today, but it could have been a lot worse,” Farmer added.
The pastor added that “to have something like this happen destroys my heart.. it destroys it because there is evil in this world.”
“Today is one sermon I will never preach,” he said. “It was called ‘Leaving a Legacy,’ and two men today left a legacy.”
In comments made after the attack, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also praised the brave congregants for their “unparalleled” heroism.
“This team responded quickly and within six seconds, the shooting was over,” he said, adding that the security team saved an “untold number of lives.”
In a statement on the incident, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said that “places of worship are meant to be sacred” and expressed gratitude “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,” he added.
One witness, who was sitting just a few rows in front of the shooter in the church, recalled her experience to KTVT. “I saw him pull the gun out and I was just panicked and then we heard it go off and we’re just screaming, you know trying to get under the pews,” said Isabel Arreola.
Areola added that if it wasn’t for the sharpshooting church member, “[the gunman] probably could have killed more.”
West Freeway’s volunteer security team formed about a year ago, following the introduction of legislation allowing churches to train and arm members to provide security on church grounds, coupled with a law that permits firearms to be carried in church buildings. Both laws were passed after the mass shooting at a Sutherland Springs church in November 2017, which claimed the lives of 26 people.