'I Just Acted': Citizen Hero Recounts Chase After Texas Church Massacre

Bryan Michalek | November 6, 2017
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One of the heroes who emerged out of the mass shooting that occurred at a small Texas church on Sunday recounted exchanging fire with the shooter as well as the chase that followed.

After killing at least 26 people and injuring several others, suspect Devin Kelley had tried to flee First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, but was met with resistance from an armed citizen. According to a local report from KENS5, local resident Kevin Jordan witnessed one of his neighbors stand up to the gunman in an altercation that left the shooter dead.

Jordan, who lives less than 50 yeards from the church witnessed the entire ordeal and just happened to be changing his oil when the shooting began. Upon his exit, the suspect was then fired upon by Jordan's neighbor, Johnnie Langendorff. 

Langendorff had been driving his truck near the church when he saw two men shooting at each other. In a statement to the local TV station, KSAT, Langendorff described the situation, saying:

"I pulled up to the intersection where the shooting happened. I saw two men exchanging gunfire, the other being the citizen of the community. The shooter of the church had taken off, fled in his vehicle, the other gentleman came and said we need to pursue him. And that’s what I did, I just acted,"

Langendorff had run up to the member of the community that he was familiar with, and was quickly briefed on what happened. The two then gave chase to the suspect who fled on Route 539. After fleeing through traffic at speeds of up to 95 miles per hour the suspect lost control of his vehicle, according to Langendorff. 

The two then exited their vehicle to inspect the crash but police had arrived on the scene, securing the area and pushing the men and other onlookers back. Wilson County Sheriff Joe D. Tackitt Jr. released a statement confirming the identity of the shooter as Devin Kelley, 26.

Authorities have not immediately laid out a motive for the gruesome attack but did release some more information on Kelley. He had briefly served in the Air Force but had been court-martialed in 2012, according to a military spokesperson. The court-martial had been due to charges of assault on his spouse and their child. 

The people of Sutherland Springs will be mourning this terrible shooting as authorities work to understand more about the shooting and the reasoning behind it. Victims of the shooting ranged in ages from 5 to 72, but who knows how worse this could have been had these local residents not taken a stand. 

Although this marks another tragedy in our country's story, there is room to help. The Sutherland Springs Victims Fund by the Hardest Hit Family Relief Fund has a Gofundme as well as a link to their personal site for victims of the shooting if you would like to contribute. 

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