Two people were killed and three others injured after a gunman opened fire with a shotgun inside a crowded Texas church Sunday before he was shot to death by two armed parishioners, officials said.
The shooting occurred just before 11 a.m. at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, a town of about 17,000 people near Fort Worth.
Witnesses said the gunman was wearing a fake beard and sunglasses and had just taken communion before opening fire. In a livestream of the service, the gunman can be seen standing up and confronting an usher before taking a step back and revealing he held a shotgun. The suspect fired point blank at the usher and at another member of the congregation before a security guard was able to open fire, hitting the suspect. A second person in church who was armed at the time of the shooting also opened fire, hitting him.
The shooting was over in about six seconds, authorities said.
“Evil walked boldly among us, but good people raised up and stopped it before it got worse,” Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn said.
Members of the congregation can be seen taking cover and screaming as shots rang out, with some ducking under pews, while others rushed the gunman as he fired. One of the church’s leaders can be heard trying to calm the congregation down after the shooting.
“Everything is under control. Our security team did everything they needed to do,” the voice says.
The volunteer members of the church’s security team were being hailed as saving an “untold number of lives.” The volunteers were allowed to carry guns into the church thanks to a law passed by Texas lawmakers following another shooting at a church that killed 26 people in 2018.
Authorities have not indicated anything about a possible motive for the attack.
“Our hearts go out to the victims and families of those killed in the evil act of violence that occurred at the West Freeway Church of Christ,” 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. ”