Parishioners praised for stopping gunman who killed two at Texas church

Church members praised for stopping gunman

Last Updated Dec 30, 2019 8:00 AM EST

Following the deadly shooting at a church in Texas Sunday, investigators are praising the heroic parishioners who stopped the gunman. Several people with guns jumped up to help protect the congregation.

A livestream video captured the moment a man pulled a shotgun from his pants and opened fire at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, turning a peaceful Sunday service into a room filled with chaos and fear, reports CBS News correspondent Mireya Villarreal.

"It was like matter of seconds," Isabel Arreola said, snapping her fingers. 

Arreola, who sat feet away from the shooter with her 7-year-old daughter, said she got a bad feeling when she noticed the man sitting toward the back of the church.

"I don't feel comfortable. I said, 'He just, you know, is giving me a bad vibe,'" Arreola said. "I tell my husband, 'Let's go, give me my baby,' and I say, 'I gotta get her out of here.'" 

The man shot two male parishioners in the corner of the church before being shot by a parishioner who's part of a volunteer security team. Several more members drew their guns as well. There were more than 240 people inside at the time.

"This team responded quickly, and within six seconds, the shooting was over," Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said.

Church members identified the two men who were killed as Richard White and Tony Wallace. 

"We lost two great men today, but it could have been a lot worse," said Britt Farmer, the senior pastor of the church.

West Freeway has been Arreola's church for more than 15 years, and she said she has no plans to stay away.

"We have to pray that we can get back," she said. "I have to thank God that I'm alive.

Investigators are not releasing the gunman's name and have not yet determined a motive, but the FBI said he had roots in the community and has a criminal past. The congregation will meet again Monday night to complete its Sunday morning service.