Texas church massacre: Man hailed a hero for chasing gunman after killings

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.

AP texas church image

Emergency personnel respond to a fatal shooting at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 (KSAT via AP)

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.


Langendorff said he never got a look at the gunman, but just "saw the gunfire."

As the shooter got in his truck, Langendorff told Fox San Antonio the other man briefed him on what happened.

"He just hurt so many people. And he just affected so many people's lives, why wouldn't you want to take him down?"

— Johnnie Langendorff on encounter with suspected killer

"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.

Following a brief chase, the two caught up with the gunman.

"We just take pursuit, we speed over 87 through traffic and hit about 95 going down 539 trying to catch this guy until he eventually lost control on his own and went off in the ditch," Langendorff said.


Police arrived within five to seven minutes to the location where the shooter was stopped. “We led police to him,” Lagendorff told Ksat.com.

Langendorff said he was not aware at the time of the chase the shooter had additional weapons in his vehicle and that he might have prevented more deaths.

"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?"