On Monday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott awarded the state’s highest civil award, the Governor’s Medal of Courage, to Jack Wilson, the 71-year-old churchgoer and volunteer security guard who stopped a gunman who opened fire, killing two and injuring one, in the West Freeway Church of Christ on Dec. 29.
“He’s the hero who risked his life to save the lives of others by stopping a gunman in a deadly shooting at a church near Fort Worth,” Abbott said of Mr. Wilson.
The gun-toting hero was identified as a local political hopeful who said he was “not going to allow evil to succeed.”
“I feel more as a protector than I do a hero. I feel very honored that God allowed me to have that capability to do what needed to be done that particular time,” Wilson said.
“I just want to thank all who have sent their prayers and comments. The events at West Freeway Church of Christ put me in a position that I would hope no one would have to be in, but evil exists and I had to take out an active shooter in church,” Wilson said.
“I’m thankful to GOD that I have been blessed with the ability and desire to serve him in the role of head of security at the church. I am very sad in the loss of two dear friends and brothers in CHRIST, but evil does exist in this world and I and other members are not going to allow evil to succeed,” Wilson said.
During a press conference, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton added that not only did Wilson shoot the suspect, but he also trained other members in the church to shoot.
One of the victims was identified as Anton “Tony” Wallace, a 64-year-old deacon at the church.
Authorities identified the attacker as Keith Thomas Kinnunen, 43. who had a history of criminal and psychological trouble.