So much for those who want to vilify the NRA in the wake of the Texas massacre in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday: Stephen Willeford, the man who shot and chased the man who killed 26 people in a Texas church, is an NRA instructor. Willeford insisted, “I’m no hero; I am not. I think my God, my Lord, protected me and gave me the skills to do what needed to be done.”
On Monday, Willeford spoke to 40/29 News to tell his story. He had been in his bedroom when his daughter informed him she heard gunshots at the First Baptist Church nearby. While he got his rifle out of his safe, his daughter looked outside again. She ran back to her father and told him she saw a man in black tactical gear shooting up the church.
I didn’t have any time, because I kept hearing the shots, one after another, at a time, very rapid shots, just pop, pop, pop. And I knew every one of those shots represented someone, that it was aimed at someone, that they just weren’t random shots, more than likely. I grabbed a handful of ammunition and started loading my magazine.
And I’m trying to survey the situation, not knowing what’s going on; and then I saw a man in a black tactical helmet with a dark-shaded helmet on, and obviously looked to me like it was a bulletproof vest. He had a pistol in his hand, and we exchanged gunfire.
And I was standing behind a pickup truck for cover, and we exchanged fire. He saw me, and I saw him, I’m like, it was surreal to me; it couldn’t be happening. I couldn’t believe it. 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.
We chased him down 539, and when we first started chasing him he was out of sight. And the man driving the truck, I found out later his name is Johnny; he was driving at a high rate of speed. We were trying to pass cars to catch up. We called 911 and we were talking to 911.
I was scared for me, and I was scared for every one of them; I was scared for my own family that lived just less than a block away.
I’m no hero; I am not. 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 got there faster.