There was pandemonium in a Texas church service on Sunday as a man pulled out a gun and fired on worshippers killing two people before he was shot to death by congregants who fired back, police said Sunday.
Authorities at a news conference praised the two congregants who opened fire as part of a volunteer security team at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement.
It was unclear if the two people who were killed were the two who shot at the gunman.
‘This team responded quickly and within six seconds, the shooting was over. Two of the parishioners who were volunteers of the security force drew their weapons and took out the killer immediately, saving untold number of lives,’ said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who also hailed the state’s gun laws.
Britt Farmer, senior minister of the church, said, ‘We lost two great men today, but it could have been a lot worse.’
Authorities said there were more than 240 parishioners in the West Freeway Church at the time of the shooting.
The shooting was reported Sunday morning during the 10am service at the church. The service was being live-streamed at the time of the shooting.
Authorities have not released any details about what led to the shooting and officials have not released the names of the victims or the gunman.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno said they’re working to identify the gunman’s motive, adding that he is ‘relatively transient’ but had roots in the area.
DeSarno also said the gunman had been arrested multiple times in the past but declined to give details.
An elder at the church told the New York Times that one of those killed was a security guard who responded to the shooter, calling him a dear friend.
‘He was trying to do what he needed to do to protect the rest of us,’ said elder, Mike Tinius.
‘It’s extremely upsetting to see anyone committing violence,’ he added.
Tinius said he didn’t know the gunman and that the shooting appeared to be random.
A witness told CBS 11 that the armed man walked up to a server during the communion and opened fire.
‘You feel like your life is flashing before you. I was so worried about my little one,’ witness Isabel Arreola said.