Nicole Cobler, USA Today, January 13, 2020
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott honored Monday the man who stopped a gunman at the West Freeway Church of Christ near Fort Worth last month.
Three people died at the church in White Settlement, a town of about 17,000 people near Fort Worth, but the shooting lasted only seconds. The gunman mortally wounded two people before he was shot and killed by Jack Wilson, the head of the church’s volunteer security team.
Wilson, a former reserve sheriff’s deputy and firearms instructor, fired a single shot.
Abbott bestowed for the first time an award he created called the Governor’s Medal of Courage, described by his office as the highest honor given to civilians by the governor for those “who display great acts of heroism by risking their own safety to save another’s life.”
“Only God knows who is alive today because of Jack Wilson,” Abbott said. “What we do know is that so many lives were saved because of Jack Wilson’s quick action, his calmness under pressure and, above all else, his courage and his willingness to risk his own life to save the lives of others.”
Wilson, 71, spoke for several minutes from the podium after receiving the medal, saying that he didn’t feel like a hero but rather “a protector.”
Following a 2017 mass shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, the Legislature passed a bill that allows armed volunteer guards and churchgoers in houses of worship.
Wilson on Monday said that an expansion of gun rights allowed him to stop the shooter.