church shooting

Church Shooter ‘Had Demons From a Childhood,’ Sister Says

Amy Kinnunen said her " heart goes completely out to" families of shooting victims Tony Wallace and Richard White

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Amy Kinnunen knows her brother carried out a horrific and senseless attack on innocent people.

But she said she doesn’t want her brother to only be known as "The White Settlement Church Shooter."

“He was a lost soul that had demons from a childhood… I keep repeating this, but we are products from our environment,” she said.

Speaking to NBC 5 from her home near Tulsa, Oklahoma, Kinnunen doesn’t shy away from her brother’s actions -- as impossible as they are to fully comprehend.

“Why he did it this way, I have no idea,” she said. “He did it in the church because he was extremely religious and I feel like I’m confident that he was praying to the good Lord up to the last minute.”

Keith Kinnunen lived a troubled childhood, she insists.

The 43-year-old spent years in and out of jail, until Sunday when police say he attended West Freeway Church of Christ, stood during communion, and opened fire killing two church members before he was shot and killed by an armed member of the church’s security team.

His sister said she believed she knew why the attack happened on this very day: Kinnunen has struggled since their younger brother’s death by suicide years ago.

“I hate to use the word ‘perfect’ but it was Sunday, it was his brother’s birthday and he just… Demons just ended up getting a hold of him,” she said. “He loved his brother and he felt it was his time to go.”

Death by suicide, she believes, down to the fake beard and disguise he wore to the church that had provided him with food on several occasions.

“There was compassion. They knew him as a person. Going in there with a bread and fake hair, nobody would’ve known who he was and it would have been easier to pull the trigger,” she said.

To Jack Wilson, hailed a hero for bringing down her brother in a single shot:

“He did what he had to do. I think my brother wanted it to go down the way it went down unfortunately,” she said. “If given the same situation I would’ve done the same thing. I’m praying for him. I’m praying for all the victims… My prayers are with them and that’s all I can do at this point.”

NBC 5 has learned authorities found a handwritten letter next to Kinnunen’s body addressed to his son in Oklahoma.

Kinnunen was arrested in Oklahoma in 2011 for allegedly setting fire to a cotton field after he tossed around a football, that had been set on fire, with his teenage son.

The teen’s mother, Kinnunen’s ex-wife, then filed a restraining order calling him a ‘paranoid’ person, a ‘religious fanatic’ who said he was ‘battling a demon.’

Kinnunen’s sister said she doesn’t know what the letter contained but said her brother would often write letters to his son with whom he had a rocky relationship.

Local, state and federal authorities have not yet released a possible motive for Sunday’s church shooting.

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