Two people have been praised for their “heroic” actions after they shot and killed a gunman seconds after he opened fire on churchgoers in a Texas Church on Sunday.
The unnamed men, who police said are volunteer security guards at the church, returned fire on the gunman after he began shooting at parishioners at the West Freeway Church of Christ in the city of White Settlement, roughly eight miles west of Fort Worth.
Police said they were called to the scene at around about 10 a.m. on Sunday after the gunman entered the church and sat down alongside other churchgoers.
He then pulled out a shotgun before opening fire and killing two people while injuring others.
The two unidentified victims were taken to a local hospital but died from their injuries, police said.
FoxNews reports the victims were aged between 30 and 60 years old, although police are yet to confirm any further information until family are notified.
On Sunday afternoon, White Settlement Police Chief J.P. Bevering praised the two volunteer security guards for their actions at the scene.
“The suspect was stopped thanks to the quick and heroic actions of those safety members inside the church,” Bevering said.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also thanked the two men during a later news conference, and said the incident had been over within six seconds.
“This church has its own security team,” he said. “They were well trained.
“The heroism today is unparalleled. This team responded quickly, and within six seconds the shooting was over. Two of the parishioners who are volunteers on the security force drew their weapons and took out the killer immediately, saving untold number of lives.”
One witness at the scene, Isabel Arreola, told CBS 11 News that the gunman walked up to a server with a shotgun during communion and opened fire before parishioners inside the church took him down.
“It was the most scariest thing. You feel like your life is flashing before you,” she said.
“I was so worried about my little one,” she added.
According to Fox 4, the church had been live streaming its Sunday service when the shooting took place and the gunman can be seen getting up from a pew and talking to someone at the back of the church before opening fire.
In a press conference on Sunday afternoon, the FBI said that the gunman had been arrested in different jurisdictions but did not elaborate further on what charges he had previously been given. They added that they are still trying to determine the gunman’s motive.
The shooting comes after firearm laws in Texas became less restrictive on Sept. 1, when the Senate Bill 535 was passed.
Under the bill, licensed handgun owners are legally allowed to carry their weapons in places of worship such as churches, mosques, and synagogues as well as foster homes, public school grounds, and apartment buildings.
“We have learned many times over that there is no such thing as a gun free zone. Those with evil intentions will violate the law and carry out their heinous acts no matter what,” Texas state Senator Donna Campbell (R), co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement.
“It makes no sense to disarm the good guys and leave law-abiding citizens defenseless where violent offenders break the law to do great harm.
“The existing statute is confusing and clunky when it comes to clearly stating the rights of licensed Texans to carry on the premises of a church,” Campbell added.
“This bill provides clarity of the legislature’s intent to treat churches in the same manner as other privately owned establishments in Texas.”
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