Texas church shooting: Two shot before gunman killed by armed churchgoer

29 December 2019, 21:37

The shooting occurred at the West Freeway Church of Christ in Fort Worth
The shooting occurred at the West Freeway Church of Christ in Fort Worth. Picture: Church Video
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A gunman fatally shot two people at a church in Texas, before being killed by an armed member of the congregation.

Two parishioners were killed in the attack - one person died at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, about eight miles west of Fort Worth, and the other died on the way to the hospital, MedStar Mobile Healthcare spokeswoman Macara Trusty said.

A motive has not been established for the shooting, which lasted six seconds.

White Settlement police chief JP Bevering praised "the heroic actions" of those who confronted the attacker.

Video footage showed the gunman stand up from a pew and speak to a man nearby, who gestured at another churchgoer.

The gunman then fired at the man he waved at.

The attacker fired again, at the man he had spoken to, before a member of the congregation acting as a security guard returned fire with a handgun.

Emergency services confirmed that a third person was also taken to hospital in a critical condition on Sunday morning.

Ms Trusty confirmed that she had been informed by a supervisor at the scene that one of the people who died was the gunman.

Ken Paxton, the Texas Attorney General, stated his office would assist the investigation into the shooting in any way necessary.

After the gunman began shooting, members of the church service returned fire and hit the gunman, a police spokesman said.

"Please pray for any victims and their families, this congregation, and the law enforcement officials at the scene," Mr Paxton said.

Prospective Democratic candidate for the 2020 Presidential election, Mike Bloomberg demanded action following the shooting.

He tweeted: "I went to church in Houston this morning, but the church shooting outside of Fort Worth today could've happened anywhere.

"Not even sanctuaries are safe. We MUST take action to stop this."

Former Democratic Member of the House of Representatives, Beto O'Rourke, said he was "so saddened" to hear about the news and called US gun laws into question.

He said: "So saddened to hear about another church shooting in Texas, this one in White Settlement near Fort Worth.

"Clearly what we are doing in Texas, what we are doing in this country, when it comes to guns is not working."

White Settlement Police Department released a statement at around 3pm local time saying there was "no ongoing threat."

A spokesman said: "Today at approximately 11:50am, the gunman entered the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, during a church service.

"Preliminary reports indicated that the man entered the church and fired a weapon. A couple of members of the church returned fire, striking the suspect who died at the scene."