The hero who stopped Sunday’s Sutherland Springs, Texas, attack with an AR-15 is a former NRA instructor who retrieved his rifle after his daughter ran into his bedroom to tell him she heard gunshots at the church.
CNN described Stephen Willeford as someone who grabbed his AR-15 before he grabbed his shoes. He ran out of his home barefooted, rifle in hand, to engage the attacker, Devin Kelley. Willford positioned himself behind a car and shot the attacker as he walked out of the church during the attack.
Once shot, Kelley fled the scene.
Willeford, gave an emotional interview to KHBS and stressed that the people he went to help were friends of his, that “they were family.”
He said, “Everytime I heard a shot I knew that probably represented a life. I was scared to death. I was. I was scared for me and I was scared for every one of them and I was scared for my own family that just lived less than a block away.”
He recounted coming to the church, waiting for Kelley outside, then opening fire: “He saw me and I saw him. I was standing behind a pickup truck for cover. I know I hit him. He got into his vehicle, and he fired another couple rounds through his side window. When the window dropped, I fired another round at him again.”
Once Kelley took off, Willeford jumped into a truck with eyewitness Johnnie Langendorff and literally chased the attacker until he died. Langendorff said of Willeford, “He’s very much a hero. He acted quicker than he could think … He did absolutely the right thing, which was try and take [the attacker] down on the scene.” He said Willeford was “just taking a nap and heard the gunshots and reacted.” Then he came out of his house “barefooted.”
Willeford stressed, “I am no hero. I am no hero. I think my God, my Lord protected me and gave me the skills to do what needed to be done. And I just wish I could have gotten there faster but I didn’t know. I didn’t know what was happening.”
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org