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'I believe that I killed an evil': Church security guard who stopped shooter speaks out

Jack Wilson, a security team member at West Freeway Church of Christ in Texas, shot and killed an armed drifter who killed two church members at a Sunday service.
/ Source: TODAY

A church security guard is being hailed as a hero by law enforcement and congregation members after he shot and killed an armed intruder during a Sunday service at West Freeway Church of Christ in Texas.

Jack Wilson, a former reserve deputy for the Hood County Sheriff's Office, shot and killed the gunman about six seconds after the man opened fire in the church in White Settlement, killing two members of the congregation.

"I don’t feel like I killed a human,'' Wilson told Blayne Alexander of NBC News. "I feel like I killed an evil. That is how I am coping with the situation."

Authorities are still trying to determine the motive that prompted the shooter, identified as Keith Thomas Kinnunen, 43, to open fire during the service.

Kinnunen can be seen sitting in the congregation in a live stream of the service before he gets up, pulls out a shotgun and fires twice.

Wilson said Kinnunen was moving toward the front of the church when Wilson fired at him because he believed he was going to shoot more people.

"Yes, there was no question in my mind about that," Wilson said.

Tony Wallace, 64, a grandfather of four and a deacon at the church, and Richard White, 67, a member of the church security team, were killed in the attack.

In the aftermath of a 2017 shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, that left 26 people dead, state lawmakers passed new legislation allowing for armed church security teams.

Wilson then formed his team, training them at his home gun range.

"Had we not had the security team in place, it would have been, in my opinion, probably a much more severe outcome,'' Wilson said.

Kinnunen had previously been arrested at least three times, including once for aggravated assault. Witnesses say he walked in wearing a wig and fake beard before opening fire.

He also had been to the church before, according to West Freeway Church minister Britt Farmer.

"I had seen him,'' Farmer said. "I had visited with him. I had given him food."

The church community is now mourning the loss of the two who were killed. Farmer was particularly close with White, who lost his life protecting others.

"The loss of my best friend,'' he said. "Preachers don’t have many best friends, and if you’ve never been a preacher, you don’t understand that. But he was my best friend."