Local gun carrier nails church killer after hot pursuit
President Trump, in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said the Texas church massacre was caused by “mental health problem” not guns.
He described the shooter as “a very deranged individual” and added, “Fortunately, somebody else had a gun.”
The “somebody else” was Sutherland Springs plumber Stephen Willeford, 55, who opened fire on the shooter as he came out of the First Baptist Church brandishing an assault rifle and hit him between the ballistic vest his was wearing, causing him to drop his weapon.
As the mass murderer, Devin Kelley, fled in an SUV, Willeford ran over to Johnnie Langendorff who had just pulled up at the scene in his truck and said, “We need to pursue him, he just shot up the church.”
Willeford jumped in Langendorff’s truck and they chased after Kelley, hitting speeds of 95 mph as they weaved through traffic. Willeford kept his rifle trained on the gunman’s vehicle and Lagendorff stayed on his phone to police dispatch, keeping them informed of their location.
As they approached a sharp curve in the road, near the 307 and 539, in Guadalupe County, Kelley lost control and his SUV, swerved off the road and crashed into a ditch.
Lagendorff stopped his truck and Willeford jumped out. He rested his rifle on the hood, kept it trained on Kelley and yelled at him, “Get out, get out!”
“He didn’t move after that,” Langendorff said.
When police arrived minutes later, Kelley was dead inside his vehicle.
Kelley was described by people who knew him as a “creepy outcast” who preached atheism on social platforms.
The 26 parishioners he gunned down in cold blood ranged in age from 5 to 72 years old, including eight members of one family.
Church Pastor Frank Pomeroy was out of town, but his 14-year-old daughter Annabelle was among those murdered.