'I am not a hero,' says man who stopped Texas church gunman

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Scenes from the Texas Church Shooting

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Stephen Willeford, the man credited with stopping the massacre at a Texas church on Sunday morning, says that he's heartbroken and that he's no hero.

"The people of that church, they're friends of mine, they're family. And every time I heard a shot, I knew that probably represented a life," Willeford told KHBS in his first televised interview.

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“I was scared to death. I was,” he said. “I was scared for me. I was scared for them. I was scared for my own family that lived a block away.”

Yet Willeford grabbed his own weapon and engaged the church shooter, identified as Devin Patrick Kelley, in a shootout outside the church, striking the killer at least twice.

"I just want peace."

The man who stopped the Texas church shooter told 40/29 Joshua Cole he just wants peace. http://bit.ly/2zDyIcU

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“It was surreal to me,” Willeford said of the moments when he responded, barefooted, to the sound of gunfire at the church. “It couldn’t be happening. I couldn’t believe it. We exchanged gunfire. I know I hit him. I don’t know where, but I know I hit him. He got into his vehicle, and he fired another couple of rounds through his side window, and I fired another round at him as he was pulling away.”

As Kelley drove away, Willeford enlisted Johnnie Langendorff and his pickup to chase after the gunman. Kelley crashed on a rural highway and died of what has been ruled a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"I am not a hero," Willeford said. "I think my Lord, my God, protected me and gave me the skills to do what needed to be done. I wish that I could have gotten there faster."

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