Updated Dec 30, 2019

Texas church security volunteer who shot gunman was trained reserve deputy

An FBI agent works the scene after a shooting took place during services at West Freeway Church of Christ on December 29, 2019 in White Settlement, Texas.

An FBI agent at West Freeway Church of Christ after a shooting during services on Sunday. Photo: Stewart F. House/Getty Images

The Texas church security volunteer who killed a gunman after he opened fire during a Sunday morning service was identified on Monday as Jack Wilson, a trained reserve deputy, per CNN.

What they're saying: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that Wilson "had significant training, had his own shooting range, had taught other people how to shoot, had taught many people in this church how to be prepared" and "ultimately saved the lives of maybe hundreds of people" with his actions.

  • Wilson, who is running for a local county commissioner office, posted a statement on his campaign's Facebook: "I’m thankful to GOD that I have been blessed with the ability and desire to serve him in the role of head of security at the church. I am very sad in the loss of two dear friends and brothers in CHRIST, but evil does exist in this world and I and other members are not going to allow evil to succeed."

Details: Two people died in the incident at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, a suburb of Fort Worth.

  • The church was live-streaming the service on social at the time of the attack during the morning service about about 11:50 a.m. local time.
  • Britt Farmer, the church's senior minister, told reporters, "We lost two great men today, but it could have been a lot worse and I am thankful our government has allowed us the opportunity to protect ourselves."
  • Two other people were treated at the scene for minor injuries sustained when they "hit their heads while they were ducking for cover," the Dallas Morning News reports, citing a MedStar Mobile Healthcare spokeswoman.

The investigation: Matthew DeSarno, the FBI's special agent in charge in Dallas, told reporters investigators are "working very hard to find a motive for the attack, per the New York Times.

  • The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives tweeted that it's sent special agents to the scene.

What they're saying: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement, "Places of worship are meant to be sacred, and I am grateful for the church members who acted quickly to take down the shooter and help prevent further loss of life."

The big picture: Several places of worship have been attacked in recent years. On Saturday, a man armed with a knife stormed the home of a Hasidic rabbi in Monsey, N.Y., during a Hanukkah gathering and wounded five people, including two critically.

  • In April, a shooting at Chabad of Poway Synagogue in California left one person dead and three others wounded.
  • In October 2018, a gunman killed 11 people and injured six others at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
  • In November 2017, a gunman armed with a military-style rifle entered First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and killed 26 people.
  • In June 2015, nine African Americans were shot to death by a white supremacist at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • Another Fort Worth place of worship, Wedgwood Baptist Church, was targeted in 1999 by a gunman who killed seven people and himself.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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