There’s one thing the TX church shooter didn’t do that should have raised red flags


Our hearts and sincere condolences go out to the congregation of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas. There can be no doubt that there is evil in the world, and it manifested itself in this Texas town of a little over 400. In this small church, some 50 had gathered for an American tradition, Sunday morning church services. Then something, which no one could have predicted, went so very wrong, taking the lives of 26 congregants and wounding 20. But even in this tragic and horrific incident, there is still a shining light — two Good Samaritans.

As reported by Fox News, “One of the men who said he helped run the Texas church gunman off the road Sunday is being hailed as a hero for potentially preventing more bloodshed after the deadly shooting. Johnnie Langendorff told Fox San Antonio he decided to track down the killer after seeing the gunman, Devin Kelley, exchanging fire with another member of the community.

That person, who hasn’t been identified, reportedly shot Kelley during the encounter. The mass shooting unfolded around 11:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, which is about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio. At least 26 people were killed and 20 wounded. 

Langendorff said he arrived at an intersection near the church. He said he witnessed Kelley and the other man engaged in a gun battle and recognized one of the men from the community.

“I pulled up on the intersection and I saw the shooter coming from the cars, actually right outside the church his vehicle was parked, doors open, engines open and him and the neighbor across the street and exchanging fire,” he said. “The shooter got in his truck, the gentlemen with the rifle came to my truck as the shooter took off, and he briefed me quickly on what had just happened and said we had to get him, so that’s what I did,” he said. “He just hurt so many people,” he said. “And he just affected so many people’s lives, why wouldn’t you want to take him down?”

Of course, before any facts were known in this incident, the usual suspects of the progressive socialist left began crowing about gun control. What they failed to know, as many of us do, is that, as Wayne LaPierre says, “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

That’s exactly what you saw happen in this sad and tragic incident. No one could have foreseen this happening, and therefore, no one in the small church was armed to preclude this from happening. But because we do have a legal right to keep and bear arms for our protection and self-defense, an armed Texan, a citizen, took action. As well, that armed citizen was aided by another citizen who decided not to be a helpless victim, but took immediate action against evil.

As Sir Edmund Burke stated, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Here we have two good men who did something. We always hear, “if you see something, say something.” They took this to another level: see something…do something. I just have to wonder how many favorable tweets these two men will be receiving from the entertainment elites, or from Michael Bloomberg?

And for those wondering about further gun control measures, this is where the investigation of Devin Kelly will yield more information. Kelly, who was dressed in the anarchist black, was a dishonorably discharged Airman, back in 2012.

For those of you who’ve purchased a firearm, you know what ATF Form 4473 is, the background check form one must fill out. There’s a question on the form, 1G, that asks if you are a member of the military who has been dishonorably discharged? Well, pretty simple, if you answer “yes” red flags go up. And therefore, there can be no debate that Devin Kelly was not an authorized, legal, gun purchaser.

Here is the relevant section.

And Texas law enforcement have stated that Kelly, 26 years of age, was not a legal weapon carry permit holder in Texas. You see, the laws and protocols exist, but criminals care little about laws. The question that needs to be answered is how did Kelly acquire a firearm? Or, if Kelly did lie on the form about having been dishonorably discharged, was his name in a database that’s provided to the federal government of those former members of the military who have received dishonorable discharges?

I would hope the name Bowe Bergdahl is certainly in the ATF database, as one who should not be allowed to legally own a firearm. And we must learn what the nature of Kelly’s dishonorable discharge was back in 2012. We know the Arizona shooter who almost took Rep. Gabby Giffords life, Jared Loughner, had been separated from the military due to certain mental issues. His name should have been submitted into a database in order to preclude him from wantonly purchasing or acquiring firearms.

My point is that we don’t need any more new gun control laws, we just need folks to uphold the laws that exist. There are many questions that must be answered about Devin Kelly, to include motive.

However, there is one thing we all should be able to agree with: we cannot be made defenseless just to appease some politicized ideological lobby. What if the good guy in this case wasn’t able to return fire against Kelly? What if Johnnie Langendorff had not been able to pursue, force off the road, and maintain surveillance on the gunman?

If the liberal progressive left wants to regain any semblance of relevance, they will admit and respect all the instances where an armed American citizen is protected and staves off greater carnage. The response is not, as the leftists desire, to disarm us, and create more “gun free zones” fully known to all criminal elements. The answer is that we encourage more legal law-abiding citizens to be armed, to protect themselves and their neighbors. Sutherland Springs, Texas is representative of everyday America, not the massive urban centers. The simple values of places like Sutherland Springs exemplify our Creator-endowed unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Darkness permeated the light which illuminates small town America, but the light somehow shined through to make a stand against evil.

May God bless the 26 souls who lost their lives, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ welcome them home. May the community of Sutherland Springs, Texas, and those survivors find a way to persevere and find strength, especially a pastor who lost his young daughter. He must be as Job in the Old Testament and evidence a more powerful faith in order to sustain that community. Let us all wrap our arms around these people, letting them know that we all hurt, not for them…but with them. And thank God for men, American, Texas men, who still run to the sound of the guns and do something.

Editor’s Note: This column previously appeared at Used with the permission of the author.

Lt. Col. Allen B. West is the former U.S. Congressman representing Florida’s 22nd District, a Fox News Contributor, a contributing columnist for, the former Executive Director of the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas Texas, and the author of Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom. Col. West is the third of four generations of military servicemen in his family. During his 22 year career in the United States Army, he was awarded the Bronze Star, 3 Meritorious Service Medals, 3 Army Commendation Medals (1 with Valor device), and a Valorous Unit Award. In 1993 he was named the US Army ROTC Instructor of the Year. Col. West believes it will be principled constitutional conservative policies, not politics, which will secure a sound economic future for Americans.