Following the most deadly mass shooting in a place of worship in the history of America, the gun control debate is raging once again, with many gun control advocates pointing out that mass murderer Devin Patrick Kelley used a type of AR-15 — a Ruger AR-556 — to take innocent lives.
Calls for a renewed ban on vaguely defined “assault rifles” have repeatedly arisen from the Left following mass shootings. In the case of the horrific Sutherland Springs shooting, however, calls for banning AR-15s are somewhat complicated by the fact that the man who brought Kellley’s murderous campaign to an abrupt halt used an AR-15 to do so.
Heroic Sutherland Springs resident Stephen Willeford revealed in interviews Monday that he is an NRA instructor whose immediate family has undergone gun safety training. He also revealed that he used his AR-15 to injure Kelley and force him into a high speed chase. Kelley was found dead of a gun wound after he lost control of his SUV.
To carry out his heinous massacre of congregants at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Kelley used a Ruger AR-556, which CNN explains is “a type of AR-15, the military-style rifle that has been used in many other recent mass shootings,” including the most deadly mass shooting in American history which occurred in Las Vegas on Oct 1 and the Orlando night club massacre. Kelley also used a handgun during his shootout with Willeford.
Kelley should not have been allowed to purchase his firearms, only managing to do so because of a filing error by the United States Air Force. The Air Force failed to submit Kelley’s criminal history to the FBI, which would have prevented him from purchasing firearms. Kelley was court-martialed for assaulting his wife and infant child, pleading guilty to intentionally doing so. He was ultimately discharged for bad conduct from the Air Force in 2014.
In an interview with Steven Crowder on Monday, Willeford described in detail his encounter with Kelley. Willeford specified that after he and his daughter realized that Kelley was shooting up the church, he went back to his safe and grabbed his AR-15 and a handful of ammo.
Willeford said he didn’t even have time to put on his shoes. He ran barefoot through his neighbor’s yard, took position behind a truck and engaged Kelley, who was about 20 yards away. Having used his Ruger for most of the attack on the church, Kelley had a handgun when he exchanged fire with Willeford.
“I saw the shooter come from around the vehicle, and this time he had a handgun in his hand,” said WIlleford. “My daughter said he had an AR-15, but when I saw him he had a handgun.”
Kelley was wearing black tactical gear, including a helmet with a dark-shaded visor and a Kevlar bulletproof vest, which Willeford noticed had velcro along the sides, exposing Kelley’s side.
“I’m a Christian … and I believe at this point … the Holy Spirit was on me,” Willeford told Crowder, “because I had the presence of mind to look at what was going on, and as we exchanged fire, I noticed that the side was one of those tactical vests that velcros across.”
Willeford managed to shoot him in the side, prompting Kelley to flee to his SUV and speed away. Willeford and another local man, Johnnie Langendorff, pursued him in Langendorff’s vehicle. After a high-speed chase, Kelley lost control of his vehicle. Willeford and Langendorff waited for authorities to arrive for several minutes. All the while, Willeford kept his rifle trained on the SUV, but he said there was “no movement.” Kelley was found dead of a gun wound.
Willeford told Crowder that while he could not be sure what Kelley intended to do after his attack on First Baptist, he drove in the direction of another church and was heavily armed.