Authorities identify victims, gunman in Texas church shooting

By Jonna Lorenz

Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Authorities in Texas have identified the victims and gunman who died in a shooting Sunday morning at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement.

Anton Wallace, 64, of Fort Worth and Richard White, 67, of River Oaks died after Keith Thomas Kinnunen, 43, of River Oaks opened fire during the morning church service, the Texas Department of Public Safety said Monday.


Kinnunen was shot dead by a volunteer security team member at the church, identified as Jack Wilson, a former reserve deputy sheriff and firearms instructor who is running for county commissioner in Hood County, Texas, state Attorney General Ken Paxton told CNN.

"The events at West Freeway Church of Christ put me in a position that I would hope no one would have to be in, but evil exists and I had to take out an active shooter in church," Kinnunen wrote on Facebook. "I'm thankful to God that I have been blessed with the ability and desire to serve him in the role of head of security at the church. I am very sad in the loss of two dear friends and brothers in Christ, but evil does exist in this world and I and other members are not going to allow evil to succeed."

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Wilson said he doesn't consider himself a hero and that he did was he was trained to do, CBS Dallas Fort Worth reported.

"The whole thing was less than 6 seconds from start to finish," Wilson said. "I had to make sure I didn't hit someone, a member there, as they were right in front of me."

Authorities described Kinnunen as a loner who had been arrested in various jurisdictions on charges including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He had been to the church previously. A motive for Sunday's shooting hasn't been released.

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Some praised a 2017 law allowing churches to have armed volunteer security.

"We lost two great men today, but it could have been a lot worse," Britt Farmer, senior minister at the church, said. "And I am thankful that our government has allowed us the opportunity to protect ourselves."

Tiffany Wallace told KXAS-TV that her father, Anton Wallace, had just given out communion when a man stood up from a pew and shot him.

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"You just wonder why," Wallace said. "How can someone so evil -- the devil -- step into the church and do this?"

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