In 2019, there have been more mass-shooting in the USA than there are days in a year.
The world was gearing up to ring in a new year with full fervor and renewed hopes. The air was still laden with the Christmas cheer and spiritual vibes when Texas city was rocked by another mass shooting inside a church amid the Sunday mass. This time, it was at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, near Fort Worth, Texas, on December 29, 2019.
The incident was caught on camera during a live session of the church's Sunday mass. About 250 people were inside the auditorium of the church when the gunman began shooting. In the video, a man wearing a black trenchcoat could be seen firing at the members of the church. But what happened next was unexpected.
As soon as the gunmen started shooting, five armed members of the church jumped into action. During the confrontation, one of the members gunned down the shooter before any more harm was done, reports Survival Gear. The reason for the shooting, however, is unknown.
Tragic morning in White Settlement, where a gunman shoots up West Freeway Church of Christ. Reported that two are dead (including shooter), and another in critical condition. Also reports that gun-carrying church-goers shot the initial shooter. More on @WBAP247NEWS @570KLIF pic.twitter.com/dvh5LCTCev— Scott Sidway (@ScottyWK) December 29, 2019
Jack Cummings, a minister at the church, said the gunman was “acting suspiciously” before the shooting and drew the attention of the church’s security team. The team has existed for at least 10 years and is made up of members of the church’s congregation who are licensed to carry firearms and practice shooting regularly.
"They saved a lot of lives today because this thing would have been a massacre otherwise," said Cummings to NY Times. A member of the security team was killed in the attack, he added. Church elder Mike Tiniu knew the deceased security team member for almost 2 decades, and said what he did was to protect the others. "He was trying to do what he needed to do to protect the rest of us," he said.
The 6-second shooting incident has left two people (excluding the shooter) dead and one victim in critical condition. Emergency services were dispatched immediately to the church on receiving a call about the shooting and gunshot wounds. Mike Drivdahl, a spokesman for the Forth Worth Fire Department, confirmed three people were taken to the hospital in critical condition. "A very tragic day when anybody in our community suffers," he told reporters. "Our hearts and prayers go out to all the families who are affected by this."
White Settlement police chief JP Bevering praised "the heroic actions" of those who confronted the attacker, as per BBC.
Witness Isabel Arreola told local broadcaster CBS DFW: "It was the most scariest thing. You feel like your life is flashing before you. I was so worried about my little one."
Texas Governor Greg Abbott called the shooting "an evil act of violence." "Our hearts go out to the victims and families of those killed in the evil act of violence that occurred at the West Freeway Church of Christ. 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," he said in a statement.
6. Parishioner falls after shooter fires at him. First man holds bible in front of himself as shooter takes a direct aim second shot at him. 3rd: a flash of white light appears (yellow arrow) w bible as 1st man falls holding it after second shot. #ChurchOfChrist guard draws bead. pic.twitter.com/hRZfmOZqH6— DocRock1007 🇺🇸 (@DocRock1007) December 29, 2019
The country is in shock and saddened by the events in the church. Many took to Twitter to express their grief.
How does this cause violence in one’s home? Or attending church in Texas? Just say no to antisemitism. We must speak up when we hear prejudice against any religion, race or gender. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. #HanukkahAttack #ChurchOfChrist #EnoughIsEnough pic.twitter.com/3tyfILSdh1— Stuart Lewis (@lettersandwalls) December 29, 2019
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families & victims at the #ChurchofChrist in White Settlement, Texas.— Pasco Sheriff (@PascoSheriff) December 29, 2019
According to data collected by Gun Violence Archive, there have been 406 mass shootings in the US, as of December 25, 2019, reports CBS News. This makes 2019 the year with the highest number of mass shootings since 2014.