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texas church shooting

Man who confronted Texas shooter describes encounter, says he's 'no hero'

He was scared, but when Stephen Willeford heard gunshots coming from the First Baptist Church on Sunday morning, the former NRA instructor grabbed his rifle and went to investigate what was going on.

In an interview Monday with 40/29 News, Willeford said his daughter first told him someone was shooting at the church, less than a block away from their Sutherland Springs, Texas, home. His daughter said she could see the shooter, wearing black tactical gear, and Willeford said he ran outside, not even stopping to put shoes on. He said he quickly exchanged gunfire with the shooter, identified as Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, and kept cover by ducking behind a truck.

"I know I hit him," Willeford told 40/29 News. "He got into his vehicle, and he fired another couple rounds through his side window. When the window dropped, I fired another round at him again." The car sped away, and Willeford flagged down a man in a pickup truck, telling him about the shooting. They called 911 as they chased Kelley down the road, and saw him hit a road sign; his car flipped over into a ditch, and Willeford jumped out of the truck and yelled at Kelley to get out of the car. Kelley was found dead inside the vehicle, and police believe he committed suicide.

Willeford told 40/29 News he knows several people who attend First Baptist Church, and he only wishes he had been able to stop Kelley sooner; Kelly killed at least 26 people and wounded more than a dozen others. "I'm no hero," he said. "I think my God, my Lord, protected me and gave me the skills to do what needed to be done, and I just wish I could have gotten there faster, but I didn't know, I didn't know what was happening."