A grand jury has cleared a ‘good guy with a gun’ of all charges, after he shot and killed a rogue gunman in a Texas church late last year.
Jack Wilson, a 71-yr old firearms instructor at the time who provided security at his church, was standing in the back of the sanctuary when a man wearing a trench coat, noticeably fake beard, and a wig walked in and began firing. The rogue shooter, Keith Thomas Kinnunen, fired off two rounds before being shot in the head by Wilson who was approximately 30 feet from the shooter.
An AP report includes Wilson describing his decision making process when he engaged Kinnunen:
“I didn’t have a clear window,” he said, referring to church members who “were jumping, going chaotic … They were standing up. I had to wait about half a second, or a second, to get my shot. I fired one round. The subject went down.”
“The only clear shot I had was his head because I still had people in the pews that were not all the way down as low as they could. That was my one shot,” Wilson said Monday from his home in nearby Granbury.
Anyone familiar with firearms knows that a head-sized target at 30 feet is moderately challenging. But a moving head-sized target at 30 feet is a far greater challenge – not to mention the pressure Wilson was under while shooting at a man with a gun while ensuring Wilson not hit someone in the crossfire. There were approximately 250 people in the sanctuary at that time.
Wilson’s single shot ended what could have been a far more casualty-ridden rampage. Two parishioners were killed by Kinnunen in the attack.
Tarrant County prosecutor Tim Rodgers said that Wilson was within his rights and within lawful exercise to shoot Kinnunen.
“Mr. Wilson did just that. He did it responsibly and, as a result, he was justified under the law in his actions,” Rodgers said. “Based upon the grand jury’s decision, the law enforcement investigation and our review of the case are complete. We believe the grand jury made the right decision.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott awarded Wilson the Governor’s Medal of Courage, the highest valor award given to civilians.
On his Facebook page, Wilson expressed his appreciation too the outpouring of support from his community:
“I just want to thank all who have sent their prayers and comments on the events of today. The events at West Freeway Church of Christ put me in a position that I would hope no one would have to be in, but evil exists and I had to take out an active shooter in church. I’m thankful to GOD that I have been blessed with the ability and desire to serve him in the role of head of security at the church. I am very sad in the loss of two dear friends and brothers in CHRIST, but evil does exist in this world and I and other members are not going to allow evil to succeed. Please pray for all the members and their families at this time. Thank you for your prayers and understanding.”