A terrible tragedy befell the small community of Sutherland Springs, Texas on Sunday, when 26-year-old Devin P. Kelley entered the white steepled First Baptist Church wearing all black and carrying a rifle. In an attack that now appears to have been motivated by contempt for his mother-in-law, a regular church attendee, Kelley opened fire on the crowd of innocent men, women, and children; killing 26, including one woman who was five months pregnant, and a child as young as 17 months old.
After firing what police believe was in the neighborhood of 450 rounds, Kelley left the church, headed for his vehicle where he kept a number of other firearms. Police are unsure what Kelley intended to do from there, or how many other people may have fallen victim to the Air Force veteran with prior convictions for domestic assault, but thanks to local resident Stephen Willeford, whatever plans the madman may have had were soon dashed.
Even within the military, there’s a heightened level of respect paid to those who, without concern for their own wellbeing, run toward the sound of gunfire when people are in danger. The type of person who is willing to set concerns for their own safety aside for the sake of those around them. Fortunately, the small town of Sutherland Springs, Texas is far from lacking in such men.
Willeford, who heard the chaos inside the church and came running with his own rifle in hand, engaged in a firefight with the killer, hitting him once in the leg and again in the torso, forcing him to flee – But Willeford wasn’t done yet. Unsure of Kelley’s condition, he flagged down a nearby motorist named Johnnie Langendorff. He quickly apprised Langendorff of what had gone on, and Langendorff immediately agreed to help him chase down the killer before he could hurt anyone else.
In the video below, watch Stephen Willeford tell the story in his own words:
Image courtesy of YouTube