As the dust settles around Sunday’s mass shooting at the Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, stories are surfacing about what happened. The latest report says a man witnessed the end of the shooting. He and a neighbor then gave chase, following the man they believe to have been the shooter.
Summer Caddel told ABC that her boyfriend, Johnnie Langendorff, “called her moments after the shooting at First Baptist Church and told her that he saw a gunfight between the shooter and a neighbor, who was returning fire.”
Reports from inside the church say as many as 27 people were killed, and more injured. Yet the casualty numbers might be even higher without the intervention of the neighbor. The two men who returned fire may have broken up the shooting and driven the suspect off.
Freeman Martin, of the Department of Public Safety, described the timeline and actions of the armed neighbor during an afternoon press conference.
“At approximately 11:20 this morning a suspect was seen at a Valero gas station in Sutherland Springs, Texas,” Martin said. “He was dressed in all black. That suspect crossed the street to the church, exited his vehicle and began firing at the church.”
“That suspect then moved to the right side of the church and then continued to fire,” he continued. “That suspect entered the church and continued to fire. As he exited the church, a local resident grabbed his rifle and engaged that suspect. The suspect dropped his rifle, which was a Ruger AR assault-type rifle and fled from the church.”
“Our local citizen pursued the suspect at that time,” Freeman went on. “A short time later as law enforcement responded that suspect right at the Wilson/Guadalupe County line crashed out and was found deceased in his vehicle. At this time we don’t know if it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound or if he was shot by the local resident. We know he’s deceased in the vehicle. ”
Langendorff says the suspected gunman made it to his SUV and drove away, but the two men gave chase. The chase ended at a sharp curve where the suspect wrecked. During this time, the two men perusing him were on the phone with 911 giving detailed information to police about where they were headed.
Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt confirms that at least 26 people have died. They are keeping information close at this early stage and the FBI is reportedly participating in the investigation on scene.