Christian Chronicle Religion Unplugged

Why Texas minister talked to me — and only me — about deadly church shooting

Editor’s note: Today we launch “Weekend Plug-In,” a column by veteran religion writer Bobby Ross Jr. Look every Friday for analysis, insights and top headlines from the world of faith.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | Religion Unplugged

WHITE SETTLEMENT, Texas — A few minutes after noon Sunday, my iPhone started pinging with messages from friends — alerting me to a shooting at the West Freeway Church of Christ in this Fort Worth suburb.

“One of my friends’ parents goes there,” my sister, Christy Fichter, texted. “Said her dad was carrying … not sure if that means he shot the shooter or not. A little too close to home for sure.”

As it turned out, her Facebook friend Jaynette Barnes’ father — Jack Wilson — was the heroic church security team leader who stopped the bloodshed.

The former reserve sheriff’s deputy gunned down Keith Thomas Kinnunen, 43, after he fatally wounded two beloved Christians: Richard White, 67, and Anton “Tony” Wallace, 64. The shooting lasted just six seconds but felt like so much longer to those who endured it.

As I searched online for any reliable details, I came across a link to the church’s YouTube livestream of its Sunday morning assembly. I fast-forwarded through the video until I came to the part that will be seared in my brain forever. 

I heard the shots. And the screams. 

I saw the bodies fall. 

And I burst into tears.

Read the full column.

This column appears in the online magazine Religion Unplugged.

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