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World News

Parishioners shot and killed Texas church gunman, police say

by Tola Mbakwe

Two churchgoers have been fatally shot after a gunman opened fire in a church Texas church. The gunman was later killed by a parishioner. 

It happened at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, a suburb of Fort Worth, during a Sunday morning service which was being live streamed on social media. 

It’s been reported the video footage showed the gunman stand up from a pew and speak to a man nearby, who then gestured at another churchgoer. The gunman then fired at the man he gestured toward.

The suspect fired again at the man he had spoken to, before a member of the congregation acting as a security guard fired back using a handgun which immediately killed the attacker. 

Several other worshippers also brought out handguns and pointed them at the attacker.

Police said the two churchgoers who were shot died later in hospital.

Britt Farmer, senior minister of the church, said, "We lost two great men today, but it could have been a lot worse."

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said: "This team responded quickly and within six seconds, the shooting was over". He said the congregation’s quick actions saved “untold number of lives".

White Settlement police chief JP Bevering has also applauded "the heroic actions" of those who confronted the attacker.

A motive for the shooting is not yet known.

Jack Cummings, a minister at the church, told the New York Times that the suspect had been "acting suspiciously" which alerted church's security team which is formed of volunteers from the church who are licensed to carry firearms.

"They saved a lot of lives today because this thing would have been a massacre otherwise," Mr Cummings said.

He added that a member of the security team was killed in the attack.

Church elder Mike Tinius told the New York Times he knew that victim for more than 20 years.

"He was trying to do what he needed to do to protect the rest of us," he said.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott called the shooting "an evil act of violence".

He added in a statement: "Places of worship are meant to be sacred, and I am grateful for the church members who acted quickly to take down the shooter and help prevent further loss of life."

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