iStock(DALLAS) — The pistol-packing parishioner captured on livestream gunning down a man who opened fire inside a Texas church on Sunday morning, killing two members of the congregation, says he doesn’t consider himself a hero.
Jack Wilson, a 71-year-old former reserve deputy sheriff, took out the shotgun-wielding suspect with a single shot to the head during services at the West Freeway Church of Christ in the Fort Worth suburb of White Settlement, police and witnesses said.
“I don’t see myself as a hero,” Wilson told reporters on Monday. “I see myself as doing what needed to be done to take out the evil threat.”
Not only is Wilson a former law enforcement officer, he also provides firearms training to members of the church who volunteer to help with security of the sanctuary, he said.
Wilson was standing at the rear of the church during communion when the suspect, who witnesses said was wearing a fake beard and sunglasses, stood up just before 11 a.m. and confronted a church official. A livestream of the service showed the gunman suddenly pull out a short-barreled shotgun from under a long coat and shoot two parishioners before Wilson killed him.
The suspect’s name has not yet been released, but Texas State Attorney General Ken Paxton said he had attended the church several times and has had multiple run-ins with law enforcement.
Although two members of the congregation died, Paxton praised Wilson for saving lives, noting that more than 200 people were at the church when the shooting erupted.
The attorney general called Wilson a “hero.”
“This church responded in seconds and it saved lives of potentially over 200 people,” Paxton said. “They are the model for what other churches and places of business should focus on.”
Wilson said that in the chaos that broke out when the shooting started, he drew his handgun and paused to prevent shooting people standing in his line of fire.
“There were people in front of me, between the shooter and myself,” Wilson said. “I had to wait for just a second because the whole thing was less than six seconds from start to finish and I had to make sure I didn’t hit a member as they were right in front of me.”
On Sunday, police initially said a second church member also opened fire, but Paxton said on Monday that Wilson was the only one who fired a shot. In the livestream of the incident, other parishioners are seen drawing weapons.
“I only fired one round. It was the only shot I had, which was a head shot,” Wilson said. “In my classes, I teach not to take head shots, but that was the only shot I had that was a clear shot and I was comfortable with taking the shot because of my training and my practice.”
He said once he took out the suspect, he walked over to the gunman to make sure he “was not going to get up.”
“There was no verbal communication out of him whatsoever at that point. He was down, he was bleeding profusely from his head and the only movement was just body twitching, which happens when someone is in that condition where they’re about to die,” Wilson said.
Told he saved countless lives, Wilson added, “I feel confident of that because when an individual is using a 12-gauge, short-barrel shotgun with double-aught buck in it, which is what he had in it, then, you know, it could have been a whole lot worse.”
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