On Dec 29th of last year, a crazed gunman opened fire at the West Freeway Church of Christ outside of Fort Worth Texas, killing two people.
The gunman was prevented from further carnage because of the quick responses of 71-year-old Jack Wilson.
Wilson is an NRA instructor and former owner of On Target Training Academy. He is also a former reserve deputy sheriff, but he says he’s not a hero.
“I don’t feel like I killed an individual. I killed evil,” Wilson told reporters, after he took down the shooter. “I don’t see myself as a hero. I see myself as doing what needed to be done to take out the evil threat.”
That may be true, but today he was treated as a hero. In Austin, Governor Greg Abbott presented Wilson with the Governor’s Medal of Courage.
It is the highest award the governor can bestow on civilians, and it is only given to those “who display great acts of heroism by risking their own safety to save another’s life.”
Wilson’s moment is at about the 7:09 mark.
After receiving the award, Wilson said “When events arise, you’re going to do one of two things. You’re either going to step up and do what’s right or walk away. And I’m not one to walk away.”
He certainly didn’t walk away.
In a video interview just after the shooting, Wilson described how he gunman had a “fake beard and fake wig” and was wearing a long coat. Wilson could see his right hand “pretty much at all times” but believed the shooter initially hid the shotgun he carried underneath the long coat. He described the attacker’s gun as a short-barreled 12-gauge shotgun with a pistol grip.
Wilson said the shooter “shot Richard and Tony” (the two victims) and then “started toward the front of the sanctuary. I was able to engage him.” He had to briefly pause because after the suspect’s first shot, some people stood up in panic. He said the church security team “had eyes on him, physical eyes and cameras” from the start.
“I didn’t have a clear window because I had members that were jumping, going chaotic,” said Wilson, according to AP.
“The only clear shot I had was his head because I still had people in the pews that were not all the way down as low as they could. That was my one shot."
“They were standing up. I had to wait about half a second, a second, to get my shot. I fired one round. The subject went down.”
He added: “The whole thing was less than six seconds from start to finish. My goal was to make sure the shooter didn’t get up.”
He achieved that goal. Thank God. In case you wondered, according to his Facebook page, Wilson said he used a SIG P229-357 SIG.”
As Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said after the shooting, authorities “can’t prevent mental illness from occurring, and we can’t prevent every crazy person from pulling a gun. But we can be prepared like this church was.”