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Stephen Willeford, right, hugs Johnnie Langendorff during a vigil for the victims of the First Baptist Church shooting. Photo: David J. Phillip / AP

Stephen Willeford, the Sutherland Springs resident who confronted church shooter Devin Kelley, told Arkansas' KHBS/KHOG that when he ran towards the church, all he was thinking was: "I've got to get there, I've got to stop what's happening."

"The people at that church, they're friends of mine, they're family. And every time I heard a shot, I knew that that probably represented a life...I think my God, my Lord, protected me and gave me the skills to do what needed to be done."

Willeford told conservative commentator Steven Crowder that he grabbed his AR-15 and a handful of ammunition out of a safe and ran out the door without shoes on.

Go deeper

A new Washington

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Image

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday that the city should expect a "new normal" for security — even after President-elect Biden's inauguration.

The state of play: Inaugurations are usually a point of celebration in D.C., but over 20,000 troops are now patrolling Washington streets in an unprecedented preparation for Biden's swearing-in on Jan. 20.

Mike Pence calls Kamala Harris to offer congratulations and help

Mike Pence. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty

Vice President Mike Pence called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Thursday to congratulate her and offer assistance in the transition, the New York Times first reported.

Why it matters: The belated conversation came six days before the inauguration after a contentious post-election stretch. President Trump has neither spoken with President-elect Joe Biden, nor explicitly conceded the 2020 election.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

The coronavirus variants: What you need to know

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New variants of the coronavirus circulating globally appear to increase transmission and are being closely monitored by scientists.

Driving the news: The highly contagious variant B.1.1.7 originally detected in the U.K. could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March if no measures are taken to control the spread of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.