Man who shot church gunman gets highest Texas civilian honor

State & Regional

Gov. Greg Abbott presented the Governor’s Medal of Courage on Monday morning Jan. 13, 2020 to Jack Wilson, front, who shot and killed 43-year-old gunman Keith Thomas who opened fire on the congregation and killed two people at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas on December 29th, 2019. The Governor’s Medal of Courage is given to civilians who display great acts of heroism by risking their own safety to save another’s life. It is the highest award given to civilians by the Governor. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

AUSTIN, TEXAS (AP) — 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.

Abbott gave Jack Wilson the Governor’s Medal of Courage during a ceremony in Austin, calling him a hero for stopping the shooter at a church in the small town of White Settlement.

Wilson, a firearms instructor who trained the West Freeway Church of Christ’s volunteer security team, shot the attacker once in head after he opened fire with a shotgun in the church’s sanctuary. Wilson’s single shot quickly ended the attack in which two parishioners, killed 64-year-old Anton “Tony” Wallace and 67-year-old Richard White, were killed.

“When events arise, you’re going to do one of two things. You’re either going to step up and do what’s right or walk away. And I’m not one to walk away,” Wilson said in accepting the medal at the Texas Governor’s Mansion.

Authorities identified the attacker as Keith Thomas Kinnunen, 43. who had a history of criminal and psychological trouble.

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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