Hero Recalls Chasing Down Texas Church Mass Shooter: 'We Gotta Get Him'
A gunman opened fire on a Sunday worship service at a South Texas church, killing at least 26 people and injuring at least 20
Johnnie Langendorff was driving to his girlfriend’s house on Sunday morning when he saw two men exchanging gunfire outside the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
One of those men was reportedly 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, who had just moments before opened fire on a group of worshipers at the church, killing at least 26 people and injuring 20 others.
The other man was a neighbor, whom Langendorff, 27, didn’t know and who was also carrying a rifle.
“The two men were coming out and they started exchanging gunfire. From there, the gunman took off,” Langendorff tells PEOPLE. “The other gentleman who was trying to stop him jumped into [my] vehicle and he said, ‘We gotta get him,’ and I said, ‘Let’s go.’ We blew through this intersection and chased him until he lost control of his vehicle.”
The goal, Langendorff says, was “to get this guy. You don’t shoot up anywhere and get away with it.”
With Langendorff behind the wheel, the men pursued the gunman until his vehicle stopped, Langendorff says.
“We blew through this intersection going about 90-95 [mph] … I was trying to keep up with the other guy [the shooter] until finally he lost control of his vehicle at [the same] time I parked my vehicle,” he says. “We both got out, took refuge behind my truck.”
“The other gentleman jumped out immediately. He turned his rifle onto the gunman and told him to get out,” Langendorff recalls. “There was no movement at the time, traffic was coming around. I went to direct traffic just in case there was crossfire. After that, police showed up.”
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WATCH: Sutherland Springs, Texas, Community Comes Together After Mass Shooting
The shooter was found dead in his vehicle in Guadalupe County, Texas, not far from the site of his attack, Freeman Martin, regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said at a Sunday news conference.
It is unclear if the gunman was killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound or a gunshot wound he received while exchanging fire with the local resident, Martin said.
The victims range in age from 18 months to 77 years old, Wilson County, Texas, Sheriff Joe Tackitt also said during the news conference.
Names of the victims have yet to be formally released as investigators continue to process the scene.
Langendorff says that since the shooting, he has not seen the passenger with him who pursued the gunman.
“I hope the families and the people affected by this can sleep a little easier knowing that this man is not breathing anymore and not hurting anyone else,” he says.