Story at a glance
- Jack Wilson was the armed volunteer security guard who took down the gunman who opened fire at a church in White Settlement, Texas.
- Two churchgoers were killed and one wounded before Wilson killed the gunman.
- Wilson has been dubbed a hero and reignited gun rights debates.
On Monday, Texas governor Greg Abbott (R) awarded the Governor’s Medal of Courage — the state’s highest civilian award — to Jack Wilson, the 71-year-old churchgoer and volunteer security guard who stopped a gunman who opened fire, killing two and injuring one, in the West Freeway Church of Christ on Dec. 29.
Today I presented the Governor’s Medal of Courage to Jack Wilson.— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 13, 2020
He’s the hero who risked his life to save the lives of others by stopping a gunman in a deadly shooting at a church near Fort Worth.
It’s the highest award given to civilians in Texas. #txlege pic.twitter.com/UPaWjmsjTi
Despite the copious accolades and heartfelt thanks, Wilson has stepped away from being labeled as a hero and has taken a more reflective stance on his actions, per his statements.
During the ceremony, Wilson said, "I feel more as a protector than I do a hero. I feel very honored that God allowed me to have that capability to do what needed to be done that particular time."
Wilson, a Granbury, Texas, resident, is the president and owner of On Target Firearms Academy in nearby Fort Worth. He has reportedly had significant training with handling firearms as a former reserve deputy sheriff and attended church that day as a volunteer security guard.
While acknowledging the two victims, Gov. Abbot said, “Although we continue to mourn the loss of Tony Wallace and Rich White, we also thank God for putting Jack Wilson in that church that day to bring the attack to an end. You put your life on the line to ensure others would live. That is the hallmark of heroism and of courage."
The late Tony Wallace was a church deacon himself, and White was a sales manager.