Police have just released a possible motive for the gunman behind the worst church shooting in U.S. history:
Investigators said Sunday’s church massacre in Texas occurred amid an ongoing “domestic situation” involving the gunman and his relatives, at least one of whom had attended the church.
While authorities have not publicly identified a motive for the attack, they emphasized Monday that the shooting did not appear to be fueled by racial or religious issues. They said the gunman’s mother-in-law had attended the church but was not there Sunday, and that the shooter had sent “threatening texts” as part of the family dispute.
“This was not racially motivated, it wasn’t over religious beliefs,” Freeman Martin of the Texas Department of Public Safety said at a news briefing. “There was a domestic situation going on within the family and the in-laws.”
Investigators have scoured the gunman’s background since he opened fire Sunday morning on the pews of the First Baptist Church outside San Antonio, searching for a possible motive as the stories of those massacred began to emerge.
So it appears this madman may have shot up a small church as part of a family dispute.
However as Seth Connell reports in the midst of this absolutely horrendous attack, there is yet a small silver lining to it. As has been reported on almost every news outlet, a neighbor heard the gunfire taking place at the church and figured out what was happening. He then decided to do what no gun owner ever truly wants to do.
He grabbed his own AR rifle and engaged the shooter himself.
As CNN reported:
The shooter was first shot by an armed resident who confronted the gunman outside the church and shot him. The suspect then turned the gun on himself, authorities said. He was dressed in all-black tactical gear, including a ballistic vest, and was later found dead in his vehicle.
The shooter drove away from the church after the neighbor engaged him. He shot the attacker with his rifle, and fled to his vehicle, taking off away from the scene.
However, this neighbor was not about to let him get away. A stranger pulled up to the church, who was on his way to see his girlfriend, and the neighbor flagged the driver down and then told him to chase the shooter.
Fortunately, this passerby also sprung into action, and the two chased the attacker down until he crashed a ways down the road.
Watch the interview with the driver below:
“I pulled up to the intersection where the shooting happened, and I saw two men exchanging gunfire, the other being a citizen of the community,” Johnnie Langendorff told local station KSAT.
“The shooter of the church had taken off and fled in his vehicle. The other gentleman came and he said we needed to pursue him, that he just shot up the church. So that’s what I did.”
The two then proceeded to chase the suspect about 11 miles to the county line. The two were driving about 95mph to catch up to the suspect. When they finally caught up to him, he began to slow down. All the while, they were communicating with police dispatch, informing them of where the suspect was located.
Right before they crossed into the next county, the suspect lost control of his vehicle and crashed in a ditch off the road.
As he stated, the neighbor got out of the truck when the attacker lost control of the vehicle and held him there at gunpoint until law enforcement arrived. It was nearly 5-7 minutes before police arrived to take control of the situation, and the suspect was found dead,
As horrendous as the attack on the church was, it could have seriously been much worse. If not for the brave neighbor who engaged the suspect, he likely would have killed everyone in that Texas church.
The small Texas town lost 4% of its population yesterday. It was an act of unspeakable evil, one that is becoming more common in our society, unfortunately.
The answer to this problem is not to be found in more legislation, though. However, we should also not think that everyone carrying a gun is going to be the silver bullet to stop these attacks. There’s something deeper going on that we as a society need to address, something within the soul that needs serious healing.
As we think about how to address that, arm yourselves, though. That kind of problem with take years to recognize and treat, and in the meantime we will need to be on the alert for when madmen attack us.