The church security member who shot an active shooter inside a Texas church during Sunday service was a reserve deputy who had his own shooting range at one point, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Monday.
The security member was identified as Jack Wilson, who Fox News identified as a Hood County resident running for commissioner for the 3rd Precinct. Wilson shared some details on Facebook and gave thanks to “all who have sent their prayers and comments on the events of today.”
“The events at West Freeway Church of Christ put me in a position that I would hope no one would have to be in, but evil exists and I had to take out an active shooter in church,” Wilson wrote. “I’m thankful to GOD that I have been blessed with the ability and desire to serve him in the role of head of security at the church.”
He added that “evil does exist in this world and I and other members are not going to allow evil to succeed. Please pray for all the members and their families in this time. Thank you for your prayers and understanding.”
Paxton, meanwhile, told CNN that Wilson, according to his understanding, “was a reserve deputy and had significant training” and “had his own shooting range” while teaching people to shoot. He also “had taught many people in this church how to be prepared,” Paxton told the network.
Wilson is “not just responsible for his actions, which ultimately saved the lives of maybe hundreds of people, but he’s also responsible for training hundreds in that church,” he said.
Meanwhile, a report from local station KXAS Channel 5, citing law enforcement sources, identified 43-year-old Keith Thomas Kinnunen as the shooter.
Kinnunen was fatally shot in an incident that was captured on a church live stream. He stood up from a pew in the West Freeway Church of Christ at about 10:50 a.m. Sunday morning, went to a corner of the Church after saying something to someone there, and then pulled out a shotgun from his coat and opened fire, according to footage obtained by Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
The footage showed Kinnunen apparently wearing a hooded jacket and holding a shotgun.
“The shooter is relatively transient but has roots to this area,” Special Agent in Charge FBI Dallas Matthew Desarno told CNN on Sunday, adding that the suspect wasn’t being monitored by law enforcement.
Isabel Arreola was quoted by The Associated Press as saying that she sat close to the suspect and had never seen him before at the church service.
Arreola said the man then stood up and produced a shotgun from his clothing and opened fire. He was quickly shot by congregants who were part of the volunteer church security team, she said.
“I saw him pull the gun out and I was just panicked and then we heard it go off and we’re just screaming, you know trying to get under the pews,” Arreola told KTVT. “What triggered him to come and do this? I just think about… It could have been us. It just really breaks my heart to know people are gone.”