Armed Texas church guard speaks out about his life-saving actions


The head of the security Jack Wilson, fired a single shot that took down the assailant, who has been recognised as Keith Thomas Kinnunen, 43 of River Oaks.

The man who opened fire inside a Texas church, killing two people before being shot to death, visited the church several other times this year and was given food but got angry when officials refused to give him money, the minister said. "He gets mad when we won't give him cash".

"They welcome people who are transient or homeless into their church".

Wilson, a former reserve deputy for the Hood County Sheriff's Office, said he felt an instinct the moment the stranger walked in with his long coat, wig and a fake beard.

US President Donald Trump has credited Texas gun laws, which allow residents to carry arms into places of worship, for saving more than 240 people during a shooting in a White Settlement, Texas, church on Sunday.

Authorities said that Kinnunen's motive remained under investigation.

Britt Farmer, senior minister of West Freeway Church of Christ, spoke to reporters Monday night to express his grief for those they have lost and gratitude for those who have reached out in the wake of the deadly shooting.

"On day one you can't process this", Fannin said. "They welcomed this guy into their church", he said.

"There were people in front of me, between the shooter and myself", Wilson said.

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"I know he took some lives but we have to remember that he is a creature of God also just like we are", Richardson added.

On Sunday, White Settlement Police Chief J.P. Bevering initially said a second church member also opened fire, but Paxton said on Monday that Wilson was the only one who fired a shot. Texas officials praised state gun laws, including a measure passed this year that affirmed the right of licensed handguns to carry a weapon in places of worship, unless 'an installation does not prohibit them.

Texas law allows individuals the right to carry concealed weapons in churches.

"You hope you never have to go to that extreme, but if you do, your training will kick in", Wilson said. The gunman was identified as Keith Thomas Kinnunen of River Oaks.

He was arrested in 2016 in New Jersey after police found him with 12-gauge shotgun and rounds wrapped in plastic in the area of an oil refinery, according to the Herald News Tribune in East Brunswick. In each of the criminal cases, Kinnunen was required to undergo a mental evaluation, according to court records.

"We have helped him several times with food", Farmer said in the interview.

"Even when we talked about going to heaven, he always said, 'I'm always prepared, ' " she said.

Commenting on the action taken by the church security team, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said on Monday that their advance preparedness had been critical.