WHITE SETTLEMENT, TEXAS- Last month’s shooting at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, has sparked much conversation on the state’s gun laws, as well as proposed gun-related legislation in states like Virginia.
Another thing that has come to light from this tragedy relates to bail reform taking place in several states, most notably New York.
Since the shooting, it’s been discovered that the gunman, 43-year-old Keith Thomas Kinnunen, now deceased after being shot by the church’s head of their volunteer security group, Jack Wilson, had previous run-ins with law enforcement in Texas, as well as other states.
Linden, New Jersey police arrested Kinnunen in September of 2016 for unlawful possession of a firearm. Kinnunen had been riding a bicycle near a refinery while carrying a 12-gauge shotgun. He told police he was homeless, traveling on his bike from Texas and taking photos of “interesting sites.”
Kinnunen’s trial took place in January 2017. At that time, he accepted a plea deal finding him guilty of criminal trespass, with no mention of a firearm. The misdemeanor was punished with time served at Union County Jail, totaling about 90 days.
The Superior Court Judge also ordered him to forfeit his weapon.
For reference, the December church shooting was carried out using a 12-gauge shotgun.
Following the shooting, Union County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman said, “the plea deal was “fully reasonable and legally appropriate.”
In a written statement, the spokesman said:
“The assistant prosecutor assigned to this case consulted with a member of the Union County Police Department Ballistics Unit, who determined that because the recovered weapon was missing a fundamental component, it was inoperable under the definition outlined in the applicable statute.”
Kinnunen was found to be mentally unfit to stand trial in a 2012 case out of Oklahoma. The case involved a 2011 incident where he attacked the owner of a donut shop, breaking his nose. Kinnunen was charged with felony assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
Kinnunen’s lengthy criminal history record also shows several arrests for theft and warrants for unpaid traffic tickets and aside from the states mentioned, also include charges in Nevada, Arizona, and California.
Also in Oklahoma, Kinnunen was charged with arson when he attempted to start a fire in a cotton field using “flaming tampons.”
After being found mentally incompetent for that trial, he was committed to a psychiatric facility.
Clearly, it wasn’t a long-term commitment.
Much like his marriages, which were marred with drugs and abuse.
Kinnunen’s ex-wife, Angela Holloway, told reporters that in 2011 he had gotten increasingly involved with drugs. She said the drugs “messed with his head.”
Another ex-wife, Cindy Glasgow-Voegel, filed for a protective order in 2012 in Grady County, Oklahoma, claiming that he was “a violent, paranoid person, with a long line of assault and battery with and without firearms.” She also said:
“He is a religious fanatic, says he’s battling a demon … He is not nice to anyone.”
Cindy said their 15-year-old son was “terrified” of Kinnunen and that he threatened her, warning her to not keep their son from him.
In the protective order, Cindy said her son recorded Kinnunen setting several fires while visiting him, but didn’t saying anything out of fear of retaliation.
An arrest warrant affidavit in December 2011 included a statement from his son, which said Kinnunen “set a cotton field on fire using lamp oil, tampons and a lighter.”
The teenager also said Kinnunen liked to play “fire football, where he soaked a football in a flammable liquid, lit the ball on fire and then toss it back and forth.” Kinnunen’s son thought “the game” was unsafe, but he didn’t stop playing because he was “afraid he might get mad at me if I asked to stop.”
In that case, Kinnunen was again punished with time served, amounting to 303 days in jail.
Another charge of aggravated assault (with a firearm) was downgraded to misdemeanor deadly conduct in Texas in 2008.
It is believed that the shooting was related to the congregation previously providing Kinnunen with food but denying him the money he asked for, but a solid motive for the shooting hasn’t yet been determined.
What has been determined, however, is that plea deals, when carried out in this manner, are neither effective nor responsible. Plea deals must be used carefully, and judges and DA’s must look at a totality of circumstances.
Keith Kinnunen showed a clear and constant pattern of mental health issues, violence, and attacks utilizing weapons, to include firearms, across 6 different states. SIX. And yet, across all of them, most notably Texas, Oklahoma, and New Jersey, he was given plea deal after plea deal. Serious, violent offenses, lowered to minor charges with little retribution.
Kinnunen was not a person who should have been provided with a plea deal. He is not a person who should have been freed from jail, unless it was to a long-term, live-in mental health and drug rehabilitation center. Our criminal justice system is meant to protect victims and ensure they’re provided justice for crimes against them, and to provide punishment to offenders.
None of Kinnunen’s victims were protected. None of them received justice. And Kinnunen was not provided proper punishment for his many, many violent crimes.
If this huge fail in the justice system had played out differently, at least two deaths, Anton “Tony” Wallace and Richard White, of White Settlement, Texas, could have been prevented.
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Just last week, Joe Biden stuck his foot in his mouth on the church shooting.
First, he said that the Texas man who stopped the Sutherland Springs mass murderer by killing him with an AR-15 should never have had that gun. More on that in the second half of the article.
But then this..
In September, Biden said:
“It’s irrational, with all due respect to the governor of Texas, it’s irrational what they’re doing. I mean every day, you see a mass shooting.”
Great on the hyperbole there Joe. Irrational to me is talking about bouncing kids on your lap and talking about your leg hair to kids. But I digress.
Biden of course had been talking about the new Texas state law, which was signed by Gov. Abbott and which allowed residents of Texas to carry firearms in churches.
On Sunday, good guys with a gun took out a bad guy with a gun at the West Freeway Church of Christ in Tarrant County on Sunday.
According to witnesses, several parishioners opened fire on the gunman, killing him. At least one of the good guys was a security guard.
Gun rights advocates praised the actions of those who took out the shooter, citing it as an example of a “good guy with a gun” which stopped a violent attack.
Two men were killed in the shooting in addition to the gunman.
“We lost two great men today, but it could have been a lot worse,” said Britt Farmer, pastor of the West Freeway Church. “I’m thankful that our government has allowed us the opportunity to protect ourselves.”
You’ve gotta love Texas. Had this happened in states such as New York, Connecticut or California, the outcome may have been much different.
The church was live streaming the service when shots were fired. A video that was posted on Twitter shows the moment that shots were fired and the response of the armed security member.
Biden and other left-wing Democrats have repeatedly railed against having guns in schools, churches, and hospitals and argue that their presence do not make mass shootings less likely.
“The idea that we don’t have elimination of assault-type weapons, magazines that can hold multiple bullets in them—it’s absolutely mindless,” said Biden last September.
Speaking of mindless, Joe, are you suggesting that we return to single shot muskets? Because other than that, all weapons hold multiple rounds, including revolvers.
This is the problem with the anti-gun nuts. They don’t have a clue what they’re talking about, which they prove every time they open their mouths.
“It’s no violation of the Second Amendment. It’s just a bow of special interests of the gun manufacturers and the NRA,” he continued….ah yes, the left’s favorite boogeyman, the National Rifle Association.
Robert Francis O’Rourke, known to his Mexican brethren as “Beto”, weighed in after the latest shooting.
“So saddened to hear about another church shooting in Texas, this one in White Settlement near Fort Worth. Clearly what we are doing in Texas, what we are doing in this country, when it comes to guns is not working.”
Uh, sorry Robert. But in this case, the ability of Texans to defend themselves from nuts with a gun worked extremely well.
If the gunman had been the only one in the church with a gun on Sunday, Lord only knows what the body count would be. Thanks to Gov. Abbott, an armed person or persons in the church were able to shoot the gunman and save lives.
Abbott signed the bill last June, which allowed Texans to carry guns in places of worship. This is what triggered Uncle Joe.
In September, Democrat Joe Biden attacked TX Gov Greg Abbott for signing a law that let lawful gun owners carry guns into places of worship
Biden: "it's just absolutely irrational. It's totally irrational"
Today, a good guy with a gun saved countless lives inside a Texas church pic.twitter.com/qeK31Bvm84
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) December 29, 2019
The gunman was identified as a 43-year-old man from River Oaks. We will not identify him because he doesn’t deserve the publicity. Killed were Anton Wallace, 64, of Fort Worth and Richard White, 67, of River Oaks.
The suspect had arrests in several jurisdictions, and had been arrested in Tarrant County, as well as other states on charges including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
After Gov. Abbott signed the bill, the church’s leadership had made a decision to train its members to protect each other.
“I think you can see from the video that that guy was surrounded rather quickly by more than just a few people,” according to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Paxton said that he hoped that more churches will prepare for shootings the way West Freeway Church of Christ did.
Back in 2013, Uncle Joe was at a Facebook Town Hall sponsored by Parents Magazine. One questioner at the time named Kate asked how gun owners would be able to protect themselves if Congress passed a bill banning certain weapons and high capacity magazines.
“Kate, if you want to protect yourself get a double barreled shotgun,” Biden said.
Biden related that he had told his wife that since they lived in a secluded area that’s wooded, he told her:
“Jill if there’s ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put [up] that double barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house.”
He really said that.
“You don’t need an AR-15. Buy a shotgun! Buy a shotgun!”
Now, for anyone who has ever fired a shotgun, it isn’t exactly the easiest weapon to use and to maintain target acquisition of, especially for most females. According to a gun shop owner in Texas, the AR-15, not a shotgun, is a better weapon of choice for home defense due to its accuracy.
“The AR-15 is now a mainstream weapon because of its quality design and accuracy,” said Jesse Bonner.
He added that smaller women could have more trouble firing a 12-guage shotgun due to the recoil.
Probably the most ludicrous thing Biden has ever said (granted, there is a LOT of competition) was during an interview with Field and Stream magazine.
He suggested that if someone was looking to protect themselves from an intruder they should “just fire the shotgun through the door.” He added that most people “can handle a shotgun a hell of a lot better than they can a semi-automatic weapon.”
The fact that Biden is leading the field of Democrat candidates set to run against President Trump should give comfort to Trump supporters. The guy is a gaffe a minute and the more he speaks, the more clueless he appears.
Now to Biden’s second – and arguably even more deranged – comment.
On November 5, 2017, a man walked into the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas wearing body armor and well armed. He fatally shot 26 people and wounded 20 others.
Because of a domestic violence conviction in a court-martial while in the United States Air Force, he was prohibited by law from purchasing or possessing firearms and ammunition.
That didn’t stop him.
What DID stop him was a barefoot neighbor with an AR 15. It’s the same gun that Democrats, including Joe Biden, are pushing to ban.
That hero was Stephen Willeford.
And a few weeks after he stopped the church shooter, Joe Biden said Willeford never should have had the gun that he used to stop the killer.
The comments were made when Joe Biden was asked about the tragedy.
“With the tragedy that just happened in Texas, how do you justify the Democratic view on gun control when the shooter was stopped by a man who was legally licensed to carry a gun?” a young woman in the audience asked Biden.
Biden’s response was disturbing, to say the least.
“Well first of all, the kind of gun being carried he shouldn’t be carrying,” Biden said. “I wrote the last serious gun control law…and it outlawed assault weapons and outlawed weapons with magazines that held a whole lotta bullets so you could kill a lot of people a whole lot more quickly.”
It is imperative that we recognize that Stephen’s intervention saved countless lives. Because the shooter was wearing body armor, if Willeford had responded with just a pistol, he would also most likely be dead.
“It’s just rational to say certain people shouldn’t have guns,” Biden insisted. “The fact that some people with guns are legally able to acquire a gun and they turn out to be crazy after the fact, that’s life. There’s nothing you can do about that, but we can save a lot of lives and we’ve stopped tens of thousands of people from getting guns who shouldn’t have guns.”
No Uncle Joe, you aren’t stopping the people who shouldn’t have guns from having them. What you are doing is trying to take guns out of the hands of people like Stephen Willeford.
Instead of stating that he should have never had the rifle he used to stop that massacre, you should be applauding him, and then hitting your knees and thanking God Almighty that people like Stephen exist.
Willeford’s response to Biden saying he shouldn’t have had that gun was simple:
“I wonder if his family had been sitting in a pew if he would have said the same thing,” said Willeford.
The media has given Biden and his fellow Constitution-shredding Democrats a platform to run their mouths. So we decided to give the hero, Stephen Willeford, an opportunity to share the story of what happened that day. It’s a story you won’t find anywhere else… because when Willeford was told by the media he couldn’t talk about God, he was out.
Welcome to the family, brother.
Here’s his full, uncut video interview… and below that, the written version of the story of the church’s guardian angel.
My name is Stephen Willeford. I’ve been a resident in Sutherland Springs all my life. I am fourth generation on the same little piece of property. Sutherland Springs as the kind of town that city folks say:
“Oh, I never want to live there because everybody has their nose in your business.”
And what I’ve got to say to that, is if you don’t have bad business, it’s not a bad thing.
People in Sutherland Springs know each other. We know what’s going on in each other’s lives.
And before you even know you need to ask for help, someone usually comes to your door and says, “What can we do for you?”
Are you a police officer? A veteran?
No I am not.
Are you a man who loves his country?
I am a man that loves this country more than anybody.
What you’re going to hear is the story of an average, everyday American who votes, who prays, and who dines just like everybody else. He is an NRA member who stepped up in a horrific tragedy to save lives with a very gun that people are trying to take away now.
So, Stephen, tell us about that day.
Well, the day started out. I was on call at the hospital. I work as an emergency plumber, maintenance plumber.
People may ask, “what’s emergency plumbing?”
Well, if you’ve got three inches of sewage running down the hallway of a sterile hospital, I would say that’s an emergency. So, when you are on call, it means 24/7 for a week solid. You have to carry a pager with you. And if the pager goes off, you have to answer it.
So, that morning I need rest because it gets crazy sometimes. When you get called 2:00 a.m with a problem, you have to jump out of bed running.
So I decided to stay home for rest.
At the time we were building my younger daughter a house just down the road. We were doing all the work ourselves. My wife said:
“Since you’re not going to go to church, I’m going to go work on Rachel’s house.”
So, my wife went about 5 miles down the road to work on the house. My daughter was living with us so that she didn’t have to pay her apartment rent until they got married.
Part of her chores was to do the dishes, because she’s part of our house.
So, she was doing dishes in the kitchen and I was relaxing in my bedroom. She came into my bedroom and said:
“Dad doesn’t that sound like gunfire?”
But the mind tries to make normal things out of things that are abnormal.
“No baby. It sounds like somebody’s tapping at the window.”
I went over and opened up the curtains to the window and didn’t see anybody.
“Come into the kitchen. It sounds louder in there.”
I walked into the kitchen. Right away, I recognized it was gunfire. I was an NRA instructor for several years, and a pistol competitor. I ran to my safe to get a gun.
My daughter ran out the door, jumped in her car, and ran up the street to see what was happening.
Later on, I chewed her out for that.
“Don’t you ever run into gunfire like that. I can’t believe you did that.”
Her problem is, she too much like her old man. I had to go back and apologize to my daughter.
She ran up the street and saw a man shooting through the walls of the church and entering the doors.
She came back (to the house).
By that time, I had gotten my rifle out of the safe, and a magazine. I grabbed a box of ammunition.
I was talking to my wife on the phone. I ask her:
“Where you at?”
“I’m working on Rachel’s house.”
“Stay where you’re at.”
She could tell the panic in my voice.
I told her there’s an active shooter at the church.
“Don’t go over there.”
I hung up on her.
She later said that she knew I was going. She had to tell me what she told me. It’s a wife’s duty to try to protect her husband.
My daughter came running in.
She told me there’s a guy in black tactical gear shooting up the church. I asked if she called 911.
She had. They’re aware of it.
Right away, that tells me that there’s police officers coming to the scene as fast as they can.
I’m going to be running across the street with an AR-15 in my hands. I was more terrified of the police at that moment than I was the shooter because, what are they going to think they’re coming to do.
They don’t know they’re coming to mass shooting and I’m running across the street with an AR-15 in my hands.
An AR-15 that Joe Biden would later say that Stephen should have never been in possession of. More on that in a bit.
I ran out of the house. My daughter followed me.
I believe at that moment; I was thinking more clearly than I’ve ever thought in my life. I believe the Holy Spirit was in charge of everything. Because I turned around and looked at my daughter. She ran out chasing me.
“I need you to go back in the house and find another magazine and load me another magazine. I said I’ve just got a handful of ammunition and I may need it.”
I knew she couldn’t. I knew she shouldn’t.
She couldn’t go back in the house, find a magazine, load it up and then come running across the street during a gunfight.
And I knew it would be over before she could get out there. I sent her back in the house to do busy work.
I gave her something to do. As a foreman of a construction job, I’ve run construction jobs before and the apprentice gets in your hair, you know, and you just want to give him something to do that you know he can’t accomplish.
My daughter later said:
“Dad. Really? Busy work? You sent me to do busy work?”
“It’s only because I love you so much.”
I didn’t want her following me over there because I didn’t know what I was going into and I didn’t want her to be another target.
I didn’t want her to see me fail.
If she would have seen me fail, she would run to my side and he would kill her next.
What happened after you sent her to do busy work?
So, she went back into the house. I ran across the street and as I ran, I yelled out.
Anybody that knows anything about it knows, tactically, that was a stupid thing to do. I gave away the element of surprise.
I don’t know why I yelled. I can’t explain it.
I believe the Holy Spirit called out for me. In the Bible, it talks about when Jesus walked into the garden, the two possessed men saw him and the demons cried out:
“We know who you are. Have you come here to torment us before our time.”
Jesus drove them out and into the pigs, and they ran over the cliff and died.
Author’s note: Romans 8:26-28 says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who] have been called according to his purpose.”
It is my belief that Stephen Willeford yelled out because the Spirit compelled him to do so. It is also this writer’s belief that Stephen had been ordained for such a time as this, and he answered the call in accordance with God’s purpose.
I believe it was the same voice that called out the demon as he was in that church.
He was shooting people. When they went down, he would walk over and finish them. He had just shot Chris Workman in the back and he just shot Julie Workman through the breast. He was walking over to finish.
When Chris heard the shout, some of the other people in the church heard me.
And he (the shooter) immediately stopped what he was doing and came outside. He had dropped his rifle in the church, and he started shooting his pistol.
I saw everything slow motion. I saw the slide cycle. I saw the brass come out.
As an NRA instructor, I’ve seen a gun fired from a lot of different angles. Never one fired from that angle before.
God whispered to me said:
“Don’t worry about those.”
He hit the truck in front of me. He shattered the windshield of the car behind me. He hit the house behind me, and then I put bullets on him.
He had on Class III body armor and a SWAT style helmet with a black tinted seal. I couldn’t even see his face.
The corners report said that I hit him in the left chest, and I hit him in the abdomen.
Then he stopped shooting at me when I hit him a couple of times. He wanted out. His vehicle is parked in the middle of the street with the engine running and the driver’s side door open.
He headed for his vehicle. When he did, he turned to his side. I put one in his side and one in his leg.
He got in his vehicle and shut the door. He put two more rounds through the side window. I saw those holes open up and the glass falling. I couldn’t see his head because of the reflection in the glass but I put it where I perceived his head to be and I squeezed the trigger one more time.
The coroner’s report (also) said he had an abrasion across his forehead.
He accelerated, turned the corner and ran down the street away from me as fast as he could move.
I ran out into the middle of the street, I got one more shot off. It went through the back windshield, shattered the back windshield.
Police said that it went through the driver’s side seat and it hit him just to the right of the left shoulder blade at about one hundred and fifty yards away. He darted and kept on down the street.
You know I’m thinking:
“Oh my God. He’s getting the way. He’s getting away.”
I looked off to my left and there was a there was a truck at the stop sign, engine running, guy talking on the phone.
I didn’t even know the guy’s name. Never seen before in my life. I ran over and I tapped on the window.
“That guy just shot up the Baptist church and we have to stop him.”
He was talking on the phone. Any sane man in the world would just floor it and drive off and leave.
He just witnessed the whole thing. But he didn’t drive off and leave me. This is Texas. We’re not known for our sanity!
Next thing I heard was the locks come open. I climbed up into the pickup with a long tall Texan. He’s over 6 foot two, big western hat, toothpick hanging out of his mouth, and a skull of a Longhorn tattooed on his neck. The horns run up underneath his ears.
He just accelerated without another word and started running down the road. They had already put him through dispatch, and he was telling them that we’re in pursuit.
We didn’t see him.
As we darted across 87, which is a busy highway down to the coast, I dropped the magazine because I didn’t know how many rounds I had loaded. I didn’t know how many rounds I fired.
There was one round in the magazine. Meaning I got one in the top the magazine one in the chamber.
I clicked it back up and I told him:
“Tell them hurry. Hurry!!”
I have two rounds left and he’s still got Class III body armor.
We’re running down the road and Johnny said that he was doing over 95 mph. I believe that 110%.
So, you are in a high-speed chase.
We were chasing hard. We finally got where we could see him. He’s driving a gray SUV, back window was out.
“That’s him. That’s him.”
We started catching him and I looked over at Johnny and said:
“You know, if you catch him, I’m going to have to put him off the road.”
Johnny looks at me, one hand up on the steering wheel, one hand on the phone:
“Yeah, I already figured that.”
“Oh my God, who am I riding with.”
He’s probably thinking:
“Gee, I always wanted to pull a pit maneuver.”
We started to catch up. I knew at that point that some of my bullets must have hit him, because he was losing speed real quick.
This is going be a last stand and I’ve got two rounds left.
He pulled over to the side, off into the bar ditch with a road sign in front of him. Johnny pulled up and I had the rifle pointing out an open window. I reached down and I opened up the door and started to push the door open. I started to stick my foot out on the pavement.
I was going to stand behind the door and re-engage. He accelerated, hit the sign and flipped it over the top of the vehicle and went right back up on the road.
He went about three quarters a mile up the road, most of the way around a curve and then went over the top of the curve through a fence, about 50 yards into a field. I told Johnny to get down below the dash. I got out of the truck and put my rifle over the hood of the truck again. Johnny did what every millennial would do.
He got out of the truck videoing me with his phone.
“Really? That’s what you’re gonna do?”
I stood there with a rifle over the hood of the truck, thinking to myself:
“Where are the cops?”
It took them five to seven minutes to get to me. Five to seven minutes with my rifle over the hood of a truck.
I’m focused on driver side. The vehicle is sitting at an angle away from me. I couldn’t see end of the vehicle.
Five to seven minutes was an eternity.
Then I heard:
“Driver, get out of the vehicle with your hands up.”
I turned and I looked to my left and there was a police cruiser and the officer was standing behind his door with a pistol in his right hand and a microphone in his left.
He said it again.
“Driver, get out of your vehicle with your hands up.”
The police are here. I’m done.
I laid my rifle on the hood of the truck and I started to the back of the truck, put my hands up.
The officer looked at me and made eye contact with me. He hit that microphone again and said:
So, I ran over and picked the rifle back up. I guess he knew that 50 yards with a rifle, you got a better shot.
Even with two rounds, I had a better tactical advantage than he did at 100 yards with a pistol.
So, I waited for another few minutes before other officers showed up. They started bringing out AR-15s also. I want to make it clear that my AR-15 and their AR-15s was what secured the area.
And what about God in all of this?
If you can’t see God’s hand in all of this, you’re not looking.
What message would you give to people listening?
To the people who say that God doesn’t exist, how can God let that happen? When I tell you who is in this world, we live in a fallen world.
And you can read the Bible and you know it’s a fallen world.
The Bible tells you it is also the 26 people that we lost that day, God called them home.
They woke up in heaven.
They’re where we all want to be.
We’re left behind to sort it out.
I see God’s will.
And the fact that our church is now reaching people in other countries, we are watching our church broadcast over the Internet every Sunday. Our church went from 53 that day to now over 200 every Sunday.
There’s over 200 people from my community that go into that church and we lost 26 and for the people that don’t think that we should own AR-15s.
How else could I stop it? How else could I have, or any officer stopped a man that was shooting up our church?
Every redneck behind a bush has got an AR-15 and is willing to stand behind our officers and our military or whatever is needed.
The 2nd Amendment is what keeps us who we are as a nation.
Would you do it again of called upon to do so?
Loving my brother is an absolute honor.
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