Two parishioners were killed during a Sunday church service in White Settlement, Texas, on Sunday, after a man opened fire with a shotgun during a communion ceremony.
The suspect is someone who is considered a “transient” in the area, and had been arrested for minor crimes several times before, the FBI said in a statement, according to CNN. The entire ordeal was captured online, as the church’s services are livestreamed over the internet.
In addition to two members of the church who died as a result of the shooter’s actions, the shooter himself was killed by armed security personnel inside the church who responded to the initial shootings. Praise was given to the responder for ensuring more deadly harm didn’t result from the shooter.
“This team responded quickly and within six seconds the shooting was over,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said. “Two of the parishioners who are volunteers on the security force drew their weapons and took out the killer immediately saving untold number of lives.”
So saddened to hear about another church shooting in Texas, this one in White Settlement near Fort Worth. Clearly what we are doing in Texas, what we are doing in this country, when it comes to guns is not working. https://t.co/krwcpL1lih
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) December 29, 2019
But while praise was lavished on the response to the shooting, Democrats were quick to make calls for stronger gun laws in the state.
“Months ago, I, along with many of my colleagues in the House and Senate, called for a special session to address the rise of gun violence in Texas,” State Sen. Beverly Powell, a Democrat, said in a statement, according to The Dallas Morning News. “We can and must respect the Second Amendment, but the time has come to address serious solutions to save the lives of innocent Texans.”
Rep. Joe Moody agreed.
“Thankful for those that stopped the shooter in #WhiteSettlement today,” he said on Twitter. “Sad that I even have to offer those thanks. Church shootings shouldn’t be our new normal, and they don’t have to be.”
Some churches across the nation have encouraged parishioners to carry their personal guns inside their halls as a means to deter shooters from even considering entering the building. In the case of White Settlement, many will point out that a gun was what stopped the shooter from causing more harm, but others will also note that, as far as deterrence goes, the presence of a gun in the church didn’t stop two lives from being taken away this past weekend.