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VIDEO: TX veteran who stopped church killer receives state’s highest honor for acts of heroism

Jack Wilson. (Jack Wilson County Commissioner for Precinct 3 Campaign/Facebook)

Jack Wilson has been hailed as a hero for killing the gunman who opened fire in a White Settlement church in December. On Monday, he received the Governor’s Medal of Courage.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday he would be presenting Wilson with the award at the Governor’s Mansion in Austin. The medal is given to civilians “who display great acts of heroism by risking their own safety to save another’s life,” and is the highest award the governor can bestow to civilians, according to a news release.

On Dec. 29, a gunman opened fire at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, fatally shooting two people before Wilson returned fire. Wilson leads the church’s security team, and killed the gunman with a single shot just six seconds after it had began.

Wilson is also running for Hood County Commissioner. On his campaign Facebook page, he thanked God for his ability to take down the gunman.

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“Evil does exist in this world and I and other members are not going to allow evil to succeed,” Wilson wrote a day after the shooting.

Abbott praised Wilson’s “valor and quick action” at the funeral of Rich White last week. White was one of the victims, who rose to confront the gunman, but was shot and killed, along with Tony Wallace.

“This is the good guy with a gun who stopped a bad guy with a gun at the church in White Settlement,” Abbott wrote on Twitter. “He saved countless lives. He is Jack Wilson and a true Texas hero.”

At a press conference following the shooting, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said the way the church’s security team responded will be “studied and watched by law enforcement, private citizens, and churches or anyone else who trains in their own security to see how lives can be saved.”

That day, Jeff Williams, a regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, also said the citizens who responded “undoubtedly saved 242 other parishioners.”

State lawmakers also expressed their gratefulness for Wilson’s efforts, and lauded the passage of new gun laws in recent years that allow gun owners to take their weapons into places of worship and waive fees for private institutions that have their own security teams.

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© 2020 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram