Two brave Texans stopped Church Shooter
By Stewart Grant
Every November, we take time to remember and acknowledge the ultimate sacrifices made by our nation’s brave soldiers who died fighting for our freedom. When called upon in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and throughout our nation’s ongoing peacekeeping efforts, our armed forces have served with distinction and have truly made a difference in making the world a better place.
To this day, our brave members of the military serve here in North America and throughout various parts of the world to keep us safe. In addition, we continually owe a debt of gratitude to our first responders who also protect us: the police, fire departments, and emergency medical technicians.
But occasionally, and fortunately it is very occasionally, situations arise where regular citizens are thrust into situations where they must make a difficult choice. This choice involves thinking of their own personal safety versus thinking of helping others and the greater good.
Such a circumstance occurred last week in the tiny village of Sutherland Springs, Texas, amidst the massacre of innocent churchgoers at the First Baptist Church by a crazed gunman whose name should not be recognized. While nothing could prevent the gunman’s efficient and ruthless attack at the church, it was the split-second decisions of two men in the community that likely saved many more lives by preventing a second wave of terror.
Stephen Willeford, a plumber and a former NRA instructor, instantly sprang into action when his daughter ran to his house with news of the attack occurring at the nearby church. Without even taking time to put on his shoes, Willeford grabbed a rifle from his weapon safe and rushed out to engage the gunman; trading fire and wounding the man through a gap in his body armor that caused him to drop his assault weapon. As the assailant hopped in his vehicle and sped off, Willeford spotted a young man, Johnnie Langendorff, who had pulled up in his pickup truck at the nearby intersection.
Johnnie was on his way into town to visit his girlfriend, but plans quickly changed when Willeford rushed to his vehicle. Willeford said, “That guy just shot up the Baptist church. We need to stop him.”
Willeford and Langendorff took off in pursuit of the gunman, at times dangerously reaching speeds of 95 mph so not to let the man escape, all the while keeping local law enforcement informed of their position. Ultimately, the car chase ended when the lead vehicle went out of control and crashed.
Thanks to the brave efforts of Stephen Willeford and Johnnie Langendorff, the gunman did not get away, and therefore was not able to begin a second wave of unspeakable violence. Although these two humble gentlemen are not looking for the spotlight and don’t consider themselves to be heroes, I think it is important to recognize their bravery.
This incident may not have happened in Canada, but the inspiration that we draw from bravery has always been able to cross borders, just as we remember our own heroes who died in places like Vimy Ridge, Dieppe, and Normandy.
Thank you to heroes everywhere.