Good Samaritan speaks out about moments he rushed to stop Texas Church Massacre
(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - For the first time, we're hearing from the man who helped stop the Texas church gunman, as we also learn how a clerical error actually allowed the suspect to purchase a gun in the first place.
Stephen Willeford is credited for shooting and chasing the man who killed 26 people in a Texas church on Sunday.
He says he doesn't feel like a hero, though. In fact, he wishes he could have gotten to the church faster to try to save the lives of his friends.
"Every time I heard a shot I knew that that probably represented a life. I was scared to death. I was. I was scared for me and I was scared for every one of them and I was scared for my own family that just lived less than a block away,” said Stephen Willeford. I am no hero. I am not."
Police say the shooter fired off at least 450 rounds before being confronted by Willeford.
Willeford says his daughter woke him up to say she heard gunshots at the First Baptist Church nearby. The former NRA instructor then got his rifle loaded it and ran barefoot across the street to the church.
When Willeford saw the gunman they exchanged gunfire. Police say Willeford shot him twice: once in the leg, once in the torso.
When the gunman got in his car, Willeford flagged down a pickup truck and they followed. Soon after, the gunman's truck flipped and went down into a ditch. Police believe he then committed suicide.
We are also hearing for the first tie from the uncle of gunman Devin Kelley. Dave Ivey says Kelley's recent social media posts raised red flags.
"He posted on Facebook that he wasn't thinking correctly, his head hurt, so I private messaged him, and I said "hey Devin, what's up? have a shot of whiskey or something, life is good. And then, this happened,” said Dave Ivey. "My personal opinion, at this point, my nephew acted as a coward. He took a lot of innocent life, and I'm sorry.”
It appears now a mistake allowed Kelley to buy guns legally, no questions asked, because his background check came up clean.
That should not have been the case, though. While serving in the air force, he was convicted by court-martial on two charges of domestic assault.