Texas Hero Speaks Out About Stopping Church Shooter with AR-15

Stephen Willeford (Photo: 40/29 News)

No one needs an AR-15.  Anti-gunners love to tell us this.  But I’m pretty sure retired plumber and former NRA instructor Stephen Willeford would disagree.

Willeford is the hero who confronted the crazed gunman who murdered at least 26 people Sunday at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX.

What did Willeford use to engage the active shooter, who was decked out in body armor?  An AR-15.

In an interview with NRATV, Willeford spoke about his conscious decision to grab the modern sporting rifle from his gun safe.

“When my daughter ran in and said the man was in tactical gear with a helmet and body armor — when I opened up the safe I pulled out an AR-15,” Willeford explained. “AR-15 is much easier to handle and much easier to aim.”

In a separate interview with CRTV’s “Louder With Crowder, Willeford expounded why a rifle was the optimal choice.

“If I had run out of the house with a pistol and faced a bulletproof vest and kevlar and helmets, it might have been futile,” Willeford said. “I ran out with an AR-15 and that’s what he was shooting the place up with.”

“I hate to politicize that, but that’s reality,” he added.

SEE ALSO: No Charges for Man Who Shot Teen Intruders with AR-15

After a brief gunfight outside the church, the shooter fled the scene. “I stopped his aggression and made him run,” told Willeford NRATV. “I turned his fight into flight, and I did what I had to do.”

Willeford, with the help of a motorist, would pursue the shooter in a vehicle until the perpetrator crashed his own SUV into a ditch.

While waiting for the police to arrive, Willeford held the suspect at gunpoint with his rifle.  When the authorities came to the scene they approached the vehicle, only to find that the shooter was dead.  He had been shot three times, including a self-inflicted wound to the head.  He had given up.

Gun-grabbers like to paint ARs as “military style” rifles and “weapons of war” that have no business being in the hands of responsible citizens. But that’s an easy argument to make when a psychopath isn’t slaughtering your friends and your neighbors down at the local church.

“Those people were my friends,” said Willeford. “Those people have known my family. Those people have been here for generations. I kept hearing those shots and I knew every shot might be representing another person getting hit by a bullet.”

{ 36 comments… add one }
  • Mark Tercsak November 14, 2017, 7:20 pm

    Early on the Propaganda Media said this Hero used a Shot Gun of some sort, not an AR15, can not trust the lying media.

  • Jay November 13, 2017, 5:07 am

    Only those without rational, intelligent and productive thought, will blame the tool instead of the person! Enough said! Thank you Mr. Willeford!

  • Mark Hummel November 12, 2017, 3:41 pm

    Stephen Willeford epitomized the good Samaritan. His actions were both brave and heroic.
    Good Samaritan laws offer legal protection to people who give reasonable assistance to those who are, or who they believe to be, injured, ill, in peril, or otherwise incapacitated.[1] The protection is intended to reduce bystanders’ hesitation to assist, for fear of being sued or prosecuted for unintentional injury or wrongful death.
    If we as American Citizens exercise our rights to be a good Samaritan, we will minimize casualty and damage from the senseless violence that takes place while retaining freedom and our constitutional rights that are currently under attack by the irresponsible.
    Thankfully, Louder with Crowder and other responsible media are helping the voices of men like Stephen Willeford to be heard.

  • mike November 11, 2017, 2:26 am

    to Al and Pete,
    Listen idiots, here is how it works. In the United States of America, we are a free people, our government is by the people and for the people. We tell the government what they can and cannot do, not the other way around. We keep and bear arms in order to remain a free people. If you don’t like living in a free country, then get the hell out. There are many countries on this planet where guns are banned, go there.

    • Larry November 12, 2017, 5:31 pm

      Don’t waste your breath – you can’t prove shit stinks to a hardheaded libaturd unless you rub their nose in it, and then they’ll argue what flavor it is …

  • Carl Smith November 10, 2017, 11:12 pm

    Only an Idiot would take a knife to a gun fight…MOLON LABE

  • Mark November 10, 2017, 7:22 pm

    From Jeff Cooper (1920-2006), founder, American Pistol Institute:
    The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles.

  • Robert November 10, 2017, 7:17 pm

    The liberal; loons that expound for more gun control and confiscation have NEVER been faced with bodily injury or life threatening situations. In my 83 years I have been in that situation 3 times. The worst one was taking on 7 drunks in my service station at 11 pm. The mere presentation of my weapon sent the “bravehearts” on the run very quickly. The other two times prevented a home invasion (in broad daylight) and a potential car jacking. Thankfully not a shot had to be fired,but rest assured I was prepared to do so.

  • Greg November 10, 2017, 6:40 pm

    All I can say is “God Bless and Keep Mr. Willeford. Amen”.

  • Al November 10, 2017, 2:34 pm

    When Willeford came running out his door loading his AR-15 I predicted to some friends that the right wing psycho element of our society would be hollering “Attaboy Williford!” My prediction has come true. The next cause for these sick minds will be to promote as a hero some clown who just thinks someone he sees on the street is going to commit a crime. He pulls his .45 and empties the magazine into someone just because the shooter’s imagination tells him the person is going to commit a crime.

    It was a heinous crime but just when did some of the people of this nation become the speaker and advocate for all of us? The vast majority want some controls place on purchase and ownership of guns. Don’t give me the claptrap that “the Constitution gives me that right”. Only the maladjusted, racist nitwits in this country believe such garbage.

    • God November 10, 2017, 5:34 pm

      Kill yourself

    • DavidInCO November 10, 2017, 5:38 pm

      I suppose you would rather criminalize this gentleman who saved lives. And there is a BIG difference between responding to an actual event (which he did) and an imagined one, which is described in your paranoid delusion. Clearly, the only arguments you provide here are either speculative or an attempt to insult half the country because they don’t agree with you. I am not sure it is even worth my time to respond to such drivel, but there you have it. Go troll somewhere else, d-bag.

    • Will Drider November 10, 2017, 6:07 pm

      The successful armed citizen response with a semi-automatic AR-15 to the incident just blows the antigun arguements out of the water! From your comment, it blows your mind too having to deal with reality and dumping the gun-grabbers bullshit hype and lies wide open for all to see. Your damn snowflake’s melting! This inciden has got a lot of attention but the fact of the matter is that people prtect themselves and other with firearms DAILY! Your one sided media doesn’t cover those stories does it? Like all the dems/left, the ony focus is victims and guns but never the criminals that are the cause. This Event was to big for bias media to ignore so they just minimized the good guy with a AR-15 (GUN) and played up the murderers actnof violence and “evil guns”.

      You blame guns but do you really think mass murder wold stop if all guns were banned? You need look no further then terrorist use of vehicles to mow down people to find the answer.
      Your childish insults and tossing out the Race Card are such common ploys they are actually humorous, it shows your desperation to get attention to worthless points of view.

    • Methane November 10, 2017, 7:10 pm

      Typical democrap. You had to throw in the word racist didn’t you? How does race have anything to do with what happened? Shows you’ve been well indoctrinated comrade.
      I guess you would have preferred even more innocent deaths at the hands of a lunatic over a law abiding citizen stopping the threat.
      The majority wants more gun control? Which majority is that? You mean the democrap majority right?

    • Carl Smith November 10, 2017, 11:17 pm

      To the Nitwits that will be anti gun–Please read the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence. The Truth that “We are endowed BY OUR CREATOR WITH—–

    • C.G.A. November 11, 2017, 3:10 pm

      Obviously a HilLIARy supporter, or a communist, socialist, fascist, antifa supporter. Probably doesn’t own a weapon and expects the police will get there in time to save his sorry ass if he has a home invasion or a deranged person trying to kill him. Probably lives in coastal California, too.

    • Tony November 11, 2017, 8:39 pm

      Why do you libtards just want to bend over and get screwed in the butt? You must really like it I guess.

    • Duane November 12, 2017, 11:49 am

      You are so I’ll advised and lack any common sense whatsoever… open your eyes to reality…. are you one to just stand and take a beating? Or have your child or spouse be beaten? Or are you one to fight back and protect the ones you love and care about… ?
      Seriously… what would you do?? What kind of man are you?

    • Kimberpross November 16, 2017, 4:05 pm

      This was a pure act of evil. It exists today, it existed in the beginning and it will be with humans forever. That evil will find a way. Our Founding Fathers understood this and ensured with our freedom our right to self protection. This sick human was convicted of domestic violence in the military. He beat his wife and smashed his child’s head. He wasn’t legally eligible to own a firearm. He was able to buy them because the government that wants to impose (That it appears you are advocating impose) more laws and restrictions failed to enforce the laws that are already in place to supposedly protect us. That being ensuring his military criminal records were placed in civilian background that would have flagged him at purchase. SO you propose more laws that out government can fail in enforcing will prevent this. The evil human doesn’t care about those laws.

      I will agree that on these blogs we hear a lot of people make statements of how they would extinguish a threat. look at Willeford. He is a hero, he extinguished a threat, GOD called upon him to take action for some reason, and thanks for that. But look how it has effected him emotionally. Regardless of the heroic act, he still killed a human and he is struggling to get his mind around that. Why did GOD call upon him? May he find the answer. God Bless him.

  • pete November 10, 2017, 12:32 pm

    Idiots grasping for any AR justification. ANY rifle or scoped handgun would likely have done just well, if not better. Many shotguns would have been just fine as well.

    • Larry a Taylor November 10, 2017, 1:21 pm

      Against body armor,probably not.

    • C.G.A. November 10, 2017, 1:53 pm

      Good luck using a shotgun, dummy. If I had been there, I would have used my 30-06 semi-automatic hunting rifle with a 10 round magazine, since I don’t have an MSR right now. I probably would have used an MSR though if I had one because they are easier to carry, aim, and shoot. Ideally, I would have used an AR10, but I don’t have one of those either. Being a retired Peace Officer, I would have used the failure drill, 2 to the body and 1 to the head, which would have ended the situation faster. But then, I wasn’t there and don’t know the exact situation, and neither do you, so you don’t have any justification commenting on what this HERO used. At least he did something.

    • sdw November 10, 2017, 2:21 pm

      What an inane comment. A bolt-action rifle would have been sufficient? A scoped handgun or a shotgun? WTF are you talking about?

  • LJ November 10, 2017, 12:26 pm

    Mr. Willeford, we are the ones that are blessed. Blessed because God knew where to put YOU at the right time, and at the right place to save lives. I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but PLEASE know what you did was a good thing. There is absolutely no telling what that deranged individual intended to do after leaving that church.

    Millions of people are praying for you. Stand proud sir!

    • C.G.A. November 10, 2017, 1:54 pm

      DITTO!!!!

  • Darryl November 10, 2017, 12:24 pm

    the thing that gets me, the man went into this fight with nothing but an AR15, police have to round up an armored truck, body armor and all the other stiff they have spend a ton of our tax dollars on before they even leave their shop all the while a killer like this is shooting and killing people. then they show up and wait outside to access the situation. but this guy just wrapped his AR15 and went. a picture i seen of the Vegas shooting showed a cop car with 4 cops around it 2 were laying on the ground and 2 where squatted down at the front and rear all on the passenger side of the cop car. next to the cop car were to citizens at front and back of the car in the street just standing up looking at the hotel. this was at a place where none of the shots were hitting. so it seems to me that the cops could do more with all the toys they then just stand around until all the shooting was over and count the dead.

    • Martin November 12, 2017, 11:19 am

      Yes

  • Dave November 10, 2017, 11:03 am

    This is an outrage. One coward with a weapon opens fire on a innocent unarmed crowd in a church, then, when confronted, he takes off like a spineless peace of **** I agree with the 2nd amendment. If the bleeding hearts are trying to band guns, why don’t hang out together. Let them see how it feels to be an easy victim without their gun packing bodyguards. If every person in the United States who was eligible to carry a firearm, would carry a firearm. It would without any doubt make the gun toting cowards and thugs who victimizes unprotected American Citizen’s think twice before they continue their ruin of terror. Support the second amendment, protect your country, your family and your self. (GOD BLESS)

  • Kevin Knefel November 10, 2017, 7:49 am

    The liberal media would rather have the police take an 1 1/2 hours like they did in Vegas then a citizen engage of criminal. Just like in Europe only the government should have the tools too use violence. In Europe if a man breaks into a home to rape a woman and she kills the rapist with a knife most of the countries would charge the woman.
    God Bless America, and God bless our 2nd Amendment. If you remove three of our gun control cities Chicago, DC, and Baltimore, America is at the bottom 5 for gun violence.

  • Mike November 10, 2017, 7:45 am

    Agree, he is every bit a hero.
    If all the California celebrities couldn’t hire an armed bodyguard you bet they would buying the dreaded “black guns” to protect their sorry asses.

  • Steven November 10, 2017, 7:37 am

    No comments from pro-gun control nuts on this thread, eh? Anyone? Blue Dog?

    • LJ November 10, 2017, 12:37 pm

      No, you’re not going to get comments from the gun control crowd because they know their arguments don’t hold water. Had there been strict ‘black gun’ gun controls Mr. Willeford wouldn’t have been there with his ‘legally’ owned AR to stop this creep with an ‘illegally’ owned AR. God bless America – and the 2nd amendment!

  • Steve November 10, 2017, 5:20 am

    Hey Diane Feinstein!! He was a Good Guy with an AR, chew on that.

  • Bobs yer uncle November 9, 2017, 7:33 pm

    Good job, thank you. The NRA/USA needs to create a special award.

    • Luke November 10, 2017, 11:12 am

      YES! That would be a step in the right direction. At least make an effort to bypass a mainstream propaganda machine that won’t capture the reality of self-defense. This guy needs to be thanked in a special way.

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