The quick action of an armed congregation brought down a gunman seconds after he opened fire. On Monday, the shooter was identified by authorities as 43-year-old Keith Thomas Kinnunen. The Texas man was shot and killed by a church member after he pulled out a shotgun in a Fort Worth area church and killed two parishioners.
“We were already watching him. We had cameras turned on him,” said Jack Wilson, Head of Security at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement.
The former reserve deputy said he and his volunteer security team had their eyes on the gunman from the moment he walked into the church located near Fort Worth.
“What really chimed in was the fact that he was wearing a wig and a fake beard and a toboggan on his head and the long coat,” said Wilson who owns a gun range.
Moments later, during communion, the gunman pulled out a shotgun from underneath his coat.
“He shot Richard (White) and then shot Tony Wallace, and at that point I didn't have a clear shot because people were standing up. I finally got, about a second later I had a clear shot and I took the shot and the shooter went down,” said Wilson.
Monday afternoon authorities identified 43-year-old Keith Thomas Kinnunen as the attacker who killed two congregation members. But church leaders say many more in the 240-member congregation could have been injured or killed if not for the quick action of the security force that ended the violence in less than six seconds.
“Obviously a horrific incident that we're all sad about, but if there's any church in this state and in America that was prepared for this it was this church,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
The volunteer security team is made up of church members who are licensed to carry guns and practice shooting regularly. The team also installed cameras and security systems inside and outside the church.
“I do hope that through this tragedy that more churches will prepare in the way this church did, not just in Texas but really across the nation, because in my opinion this is the model for the future,” said Paxton.
“I don't see myself as a hero. I see myself as doing what needed to be done to take out the evil threat,” said Wilson.
On Monday the motive of the gunman was still under investigation.