White Settlement Shooting

A member of the church security team fires at a target at a shooting range in Krugerville.
Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson for The Texas Tribune

KRUGERVILLE — Liberty Hill resident T.J. Wagner yelled commands at his friend James Johnson in an empty classroom at a building in North Texas earlier this month: “Face the wall! Feet apart! Hands behind your back!”

Within seconds, Wagner handcuffed Johnson, leading him out of the room with one hand gripping the metal cuffs and the other squeezing his right bicep to guide him out. Then, the two switched places and it was Johnson’s turn to detain his buddy.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott shakes hands with Jack Wilson, who was awarded the Governor's Medal of Courage after shooting a gunman at the West Freeway Church in White Settlement last month.
Governor's Office

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday gave Texas' highest civilian honor to a 71-year-old man who shot and killed an armed attacker at a church in December.

The shooting at a church in White Settlement nearly two weeks ago is just one of many incidents of public gun violence Americans have faced in recent years. 

Traditionally, sanctuary has meant "safety." But decades of mass shootings in places of worship have shaken that faith.

Twenty years ago, it was Fort Worth's Wedgwood Baptist — seven churchgoers dead. Then came 2015 and Charleston, S.C. — nine dead. Two years ago, Sutherland Springs — 26 dead. Last year, Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh — 11 dead. And just this weekend, in White Settlement outside Fort Worth — two church members dead. All of this has led sanctuaries to harden their defenses in hopes of saving lives.

The congregation of West Freeway Church of Christ gathered in the sanctuary Monday night – the first time since a gunman opened fire during a service Sunday morning, killing two church members. Outside, dozens gathered at a candlelight vigil.

Authorities have identified the gunman in Sunday's suburban Fort Worth church shooting as 43-year-old Keith Thomas Kinnunen of River Oaks, a small city near Fort Worth. Police have not determined a motive for the shooting. 

A gunman who opened fire Sunday morning at a suburban Fort Worth church was killed by two parishioners, authorities say. Two people died from the wounds they sustained at the hands of the shooter.