Hero Recalls 95 MPH Chase of Texas Gunman After Church Shooting Left 26 Dead
Two men are being hailed as heroes after stopping a gunman as he carried out a mass shooting that left more than two dozen people dead at a rural Texas church on Sunday.
Devin Kelley, 26, entered the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs at about 11:30 a.m. and opened fire on unsuspecting parishioners during their morning service, killing 26 and leaving 20 more injured.
The victims range in age from 18 months to 77 years old.
As Kelley, who was dressed in all black tactical gear, exited the church, Stephen Willeford, a local resident, grabbed his own rifle and confronted Kelley after being told by his daughter that the church was under attack.
Willeford, 55, and Kelley exchanged gunfire and Willeford shot Kelley in his side through a gap in the gunman's body armor, police said.
At about the same time, Johnnie Langedorff happened to be driving by.
“I pulled up on the intersection and I saw the shooter coming from the cars that were parked right outside the church,” Langedorff told KSAT. “His vehicle was parked, door open, engine running — and him and the neighbor right across the street were coming out at about the same time, exchanging fire.”
As Kelley dropped his assault rifle and jumped into his SUV to flee, Willeford briefed Langedorff on what was happening.
“The gentleman with the rifle came to my truck as the shooter took off and he briefed me quickly and said we had to get him and that's what I did,” Langedorff said.
The two men jumped into Langedorff’s truck and chased Kelley onto Highway 539 at speeds of nearly 100 mph before the gunman shot himself and crashed, according to police.
"He just, it's like he just gave up. He went off into the ditch, hit a haybail from what I could see, and then he just never moved after that. He didn't get out. He didn't try anything. Nothing,” he said.
The two men, who were in contact with police during the chase, guarded Kelley’s vehicle until authorities arrived on the scene minutes later.
Langedorff said that he was just acting on instinct.
"He just hurt so many people and he just affected so many peoples' lives," Langedorff said. "Why wouldn't you want to take him down?"