Respect Diversity + Inclusion

2 parishioners killed in attack on Texas church

texas church shooting gun rights religious violence
Juan Figueroa/ The Dallas Morning News

On Sunday, a gunman shot and killed two parishioners at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas. The gunman was killed by an armed volunteer security officer working at the church.

The attacked occurred just before 11 a.m.

As of Monday morning, neither the shooter nor the victims’ names had been released by local authorities. FBI special agent Dallas Matthew Desarno said in a press conference Sunday that “the shooter is relatively transient but has roots to this area,” and that they were not on any watch list. 

Two separate parishioners, who were members of the church security team, took down the gunman shortly after the shooting began, reports say.    

The usage of armed security in religious spaces is thanks to a recent Texas law and is likely to reignite debates over gun rights. In the wake of the 2017 Sutherland Springs’s First Baptist Church shooting in Texas, the state made it legal for licensed gun owners to carry weapons into religious houses and places of worship. 

Republican Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick has already praised the law, Texas Senate bill 535, telling The Dallas Morning News, “The immediate responder is the most important; the citizen responder,” Patrick said. “Because even though the chief’s brave officers were here in less than a minute … by the time they got here, the shooting was over. And that always happens, that over 50 percent of shootings, our first responders, it’s usually over when they get there, no matter how hard they try.”  

This story is developing.

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.