Strangers who Banded Together to Stop Church Shooter Reunite as Heroes

Photos © David J. Phillip/AP

Strangers who Banded Together to Stop Church Shooter Reunite as Heroes

On that awful Sunday morning, they were just strangers, trying to stop an act of unspeakable evil.

On Monday night, they reunited as heroes, hailed for the actions they took that helped end the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history.

Stephen Willeford and Johnnie Langendorff hugged each other at a vigil held for the 26 killed and more than 20 wounded in the shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.

When Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire inside the church on Sunday, Stephen Willeford, who lives near the church, grabbed his own gun and ran out of the house barefoot to confront the gunman.

“I kept hearing the shots, one after another, very rapid shots – just ‘pop pop pop pop’ and I knew every one of those shots represented someone, that it was aimed at someone, that they weren’t just random shots,” Willeford told CNN affiliate KHBS.

Willeford exchanged gunfire with Kelley as started his escape in his Ford Explorer. He spotted Johnnie Langendorff’s truck across the street and hailed him down.

“I said, ‘that guy just shot up the Baptist church. We need to stop him,” Willeford told the affiliate.

Stephen Willeford, right, meets Johnnie Langendorff at a vigil Monday for the shooting victims.

 

a close up of a man with his mouth open

Stephen Willeford, right, meets Johnnie Langendorff at a vigil Monday for the shooting victims.

“I had to make sure he was caught,” Langendorff told CNN. “It was, ‘Do everything necessary to make sure that this guy is stopped.'”

The men pursued the gunman for 11 miles, in a chase that reached speeds of 95 mph.

Kelley eventually lost control of his truck and crashed it in a ditch. Police found him dead, with gunshot wounds, one of them self-inflicted.

Langendorff said he had no regrets about throwing himself into such a dangerous situation.

“Because that’s what you do, you chase a bad guy,” he said.

Willeford wished he could have gotten to the church faster to stop Kelley.

He doesn’t consider himself a hero, but the county’s sheriff disagrees.

“What do you say to the man who stepped up when he heard the gunshots? I’d say he’s a hero,” Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt Jr. said. “I don’t think there’s any question about that. Had he not done what he did, we could have lost more people.”

Handout photo of Bryan Holcombe and his wife Karla Plain Holcombe: Bryan Holcombe (L), an associate pastor of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs where the shooting took place, was killed in the gunfire. His wife, Karla (R) was also killed. Bryan and Karla�s son, Marc Daniel Holcombe, was also killed with his infant child, Noah Holcombe, who was just a year old. Family members Joe and Claryce Holcombe told the Washington Post they lost eight extended family members.Social media/Handout via

Victims of the Texas church shooting

Sharing is caring!

  • November 7 2017
  • 0
  • 307

RECENT POST

  • [PORN STAR SAGA] Melania Trump Stalks Off Tarmac, Leaving Donald Behind — Are They Even Talking?

    February 03rd 2018
  • This Is Why We Celebrate Groundhog Day

    February 02nd 2018
  • James Corden explains how Hillary Clinton saved his Grammys sketch

    February 02nd 2018
  • Comey Rips ‘weasels and liars,’ Invokes Joe McCarthy in Twitter Rant

    February 02nd 2018