On Sunday afternoon, Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, walked out of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where he had just opened fire on parishioners during mass. Dressed in all black tactical wear and body armor, he strode across the parking lot.
That's when he met Stephen Willeford, 55, a local plumber. Willeford lives near the church, and when he heard shooting, he grabbed his rifle and rushed over.
While Kelley was armed with a powerful AR-15 and was formerly a military member, Willeford engaged Kelley, getting into a shootout. One witness said that when he came face to face with Kelley, Willeford "didn't hesitate; he shot in between Kelley's body armor, hitting him in his side," the Daily Mail reported.
Wounded, Kelley dropped his Ruger assault rifle and jumped into an SUV to flee.
But another local resident, Johnnie Langendorff, who works at a nearby auto parts store, had just pulled up the intersection nearest the church and saw the gunfight. After Kelley sped away, "The other gentleman [Willeford] said we needed to pursue [the shooter] because he shot up the church," Langendorff told the San Antonio Express. "So that's what I did. I just acted."
The two jumped into the truck and sped after Kelley. The Mail picks up the story:
In a Facebook post, Langendorff's girlfriend Summer Caddel described how the pair had 'jumped in my boyfriend's truck and they chased that sick b*****d down in pursuit until the cops could catch up. He was able to run the shooter off of the road on 539!'
Langendorff told KSAT 12 that he'd been speeding at 95mph, while on the phone to dispatch, while Willeford kept his rifle trained on the gunman's car.
As they approached a sharp curve in the road, near the 307 and 539, he said Kelley appeared to lose control and his car swerved off the road.
'That's when I put the truck in park,' he said. 'The other gentleman jumped out, and had his rifle on him. He didn't move after that.'
Caddel added that Kelley died within a few feet from her boyfriend.
A local resident told the Mail that Kelley was already dead when they found him, "having succumbed to blood loss from the gunshot wound he suffered at the church."
"He was bleeding pretty bad," the resident told the Mail of the shooter while he was driving. "he didn't live much longer than that."
Authorities so far aren't saying how Kelley died. Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director Freeman Martin confirmed that the shooter was found dead, but added "we are not sure if it was self inflicted or if he was shot by a local resident."
But no matter which way Kelley died, two Texas heroes ended the massacre before it got worse.