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Sunday Was No Ordinary Day for Texas Church Shooter

It was Keith Kinnunen's late brother's birthday: family
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2019 9:35 AM CST

(Newser) – As head of security at Texas' West Freeway Church of Christ, Jack Wilson spent many hours training for an active-shooter scenario, "hoping it never happens," he tells KTVT. When it did, the 71-year-old volunteer's split-second reaction "ultimately saved the lives of maybe hundreds of people," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says, per CNN. Seconds after the shooter opened fire on two parishioners Sunday, Wilson—a former reserve deputy sheriff and a firearms instructor—returned a single round, striking 43-year-old Keith Thomas Kinnunen in the head. "The whole thing was less than 6 seconds from start to finish," Wilson tells KTVT. Wilson adds, per CBS Austin: "I don't see myself as a hero. I see myself as doing what needed to be done to take out the evil threat." Family members instead refer to Kinnunen as religious. "I believe that is why he chose the church," his sister tells CNN.

"Any problem that you had, he could give you a Bible Scripture. He was very close to the Lord," continues Amy Kinnunen. She says the shooting occurred on the birthday of her late brother, Joel, who took his own life a decade ago. Former family acquaintance Sonia Hernandez says the suicide was "the most traumatic thing" for Kinnunen, who has prior convictions for misdemeanor deadly conduct and theft. He was also arrested in Linden, NJ, in 2016 after he was allegedly found with a 12-gauge shotgun, per CNN. Formerly homeless, Kinnunen had recently been living with friends in White Settlement and had visited West Freeway Church of Christ before. Senior minister Britt Farmer even recalls conversing with him. "I had visited with him. I had given him food. I had offered him food [on] other occasions that he had been to our building," he tells CNN. (Read more church shootings stories.)

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