UPDATED 11-6-2017: The Associated Press has reported that the armed citizen who confronted the Texas church rampage killer and then pursued him with the aid of another good Samaritan was also armed with a semi-auto rifle, the kind that anti-gunners want banned.
The story quoted Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director Freeman Martin’s remarks at a Monday press conference that the armed citizen had an “AR assault rifle and engaged” the killer, identified as Devin Patrick Kelley, 26. Authorities reported Monday evening that Kelley had been hit twice by the armed citizen, once in the leg and once in the torso.
The armed citizen, identified as Stephen Willeford, 55, apparently hit Kelley before the gunman dropped his own rifle and fled from the small community of Sutherland Springs, located about 30 miles southeast from San Antonio. Authorities said Kelley telephoned his father, told him he had been shot and that he did not believe he would survive. He apparently took his own life.
Twenty-six church goers were killed, two outside and 23 inside the church. Another died at the hospital.
Willeford climbed into a pickup truck being driven by Johnnie Langendorff and the two chased Kelley down the highway for several miles. When Kelley’s car left the road, Willeford kept the vehicle covered until law enforcement arrived a few minutes later. Both men are being hailed as heroes.
Kelley reportedly had three guns including the Ruger AR-type rifle he dropped outside the church after apparently being hit. He was wearing a ballistic vest and reportedly had a trauma plate in the front part of the vest, but the bullet went between the front and rear panels and hit him in the side.
Other news reports said the chase exceeded speeds of 95 mph before the suspect’s vehicle left the road.
This newest revelation may cause anti-gunners some problems, because it portrays a “good guy with a gun” that anti-gunners would like to ban, being put to good use by a law-abiding private citizen. That does not fit the narrative that the gun prohibition lobby has tried to push.
Nationally, rifles of any kind, including so-called “assault rifles,” are used in a fraction of the total homicides in the United States in any given year, according to FBI crime statistics.