Two Parishioners Killed by an Active Shooter While Attending Church Service
On Sunday, December 29, 2019, a male entered the West Freeway Church Of Christ in White Settlement, Texas. The church had approximately 240 parishioners inside the building for the 11:00 AM service.
The Church Security Team Noticed Something was ‘Off’
The suspicious visitor caught the attention of the volunteer church security team while he was walking through the parking lot. The security team knew that it was unusual to see someone arriving without a vehicle, and walking the full-length of the parking lot from the road. Upon closer inspection, the security team noted that the visitor was wearing a bulky trench coat, a fake beard, a long black wig, and sunglasses.
These were immediate red flags for the security team.
The man entered the church and sat in the back. The security team placed a video camera on the suspect and began monitoring his movements. Also, one of the team members stationed himself directly behind the suspicious individual, keeping watch of the man’s hands at all times. The security team described their actions as being a “case of maybe it's nothing, but maybe it's worth looking into.”
The shooter eventually stood up. He pulled out a shotgun and killed 2 parishioners. Within 6 seconds, he was confronted and killed by two security team members.
What Lessons Did We Learn From this Tragic Event?
First, we learned that security identified the threat while the individual was still in the parking lot. The Institute for Childhood Preparedness has always recommended that everyone monitor their parking lots with cameras to identify potential problems before a questionable individual can enter the building.