Texas Mega-Church to Train And Arm Leaders to Protect Congregation

The pastor of a Baptist church in Texas announced today that his church’s leaders will begin security training in the wake of Sunday’s shooting in Sutherland Springs, just outside of San Antonio.

Authorities have identified Devin Kelley, 26, as the shooter who killed 26 people and wounded 30 others at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs on Sunday morning.

Pastor Jack Graham says that the Prestonwood Southern Baptist Church in North Dallas is taking steps to protect their members. Graham leads a congregation of 42,000 at three campuses.

The Daily Caller reports:

Pastor Jack Graham of Prestonwood Southern Baptist Church in North Dallas announced Monday that the church is formulating plans to give security training to its leaders in the wake of the Sunday shooting at First Baptist Church in which suspected gunman Devin Kelley killed 27 people. Graham, who is one of President Donald Trump’s faith advisers, announced the security training plan just one day after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton suggested that churches needed to either hire professional security or arm some of their parishioners so that law-abiding citizens could prevent mass shootings in the future.

Paxton argued that the intervention of an armed unnamed citizen who confronted Kelley with a gun and then pursued him alongside bystander Johnnie Langendorff showed the efficacy of concealed carry policies that allow citizens to defend themselves and others from gun-wielding criminals.

Graham also offered words of comfort and solidarity to the victims and the surviving members of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs in a video published to Instagram, urging those faced with tragedy, suffering, and evil to seek peace in Christ.

Kelly might have continued his killing spree if it weren’t for one resident who ran out of his house barefoot with a rifle and engaged Kelly, causing the shooter to drop his rifle.

CNN reports:

The resident, whose name has not yet been released, ran out of his house barefoot and exchanged gunfire with the shooter before the gunman sped away in a pearl-colored Fort Explorer. The armed resident then hailed a man across the street and got in his truck, telling him to chase down the gunman.

“I had to catch the guy. I had to make sure he was caught and at that point the gentleman riding with me said you may have to use your truck to get him off the road and there was no hesitation. It was do everything necessary to make sure that this guy is stopped,” the motorist, Johnnie Langendorff said […]

A local resident grabbed his own rifle and engaged the gunman, said Freeman Martin, the regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

“The suspect dropped his rifle, which was a Ruger AR assault-type rifle and fled from the church,” said Martin.

“What do you say to the man who stepped up when he heard the gunshots? I’d say he’s a hero,” Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt Jr. told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Monday. “I don’t think there’s any question about that. Had he not done what he did, we could have lost more people.”

Pastor Graham sees an example in the unidentified heroes who engaged and pursued Kelly. He believes that citizens can defend themselves from active shooters, and should be prepared to do so.