church shooting

White Settlement Gunman Grew Angry Over Refused Requests for Money: Minister

Minister says the church had provided gunman with food on several occasions, but never cash

KEITH_THOMAS_KINNUNEN
River Oaks Police Department

The man who opened fire inside a White Settlement church, killing two people before being shot to death, was ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial in 2012 and was repeatedly fed by the congregation before he grew angry when church officials refused to give him money, according to court records and the minister.

Keith Thomas Kinnunen, 43, brought a shotgun into the West Freeway Church of Christ during Sunday services and opened fire during communion, killing church members Richard White and Anton "Tony" Wallace, according to police.

Witnesses said he was wearing a fake beard, a wig, a hat and a long coat, which drew the attention of the church's security team.

Minister Britt Farmer told The Christian Chronicle that he recognized Kinnunen after seeing a photo of him without the disguise.

"We've helped him on several occasions with food," Farmer said in the interview. "He gets mad when we won't give him cash. He's been here on multiple occasions."

NBC 5 sat down with one of Kinnunen's ex-wives, Angela Holloway, on Monday night. Holloway said, "We knew he was crazy but not like this. I don't wish this on anybody. I feel sorry for the victims. I really do."


The man who fatally shot two people at a White Settlement Church on Sunday before being killed by church security has been identified as a 43-year-old Keith Thomas Kinnunen, a River Oaks man with a long criminal history and described by his ex-wife as “battling a demon” and “not nice to anyone.”

Video: 'We Knew He Was Crazy But Not Like This,’ Gunman's Ex-Wife


The two divorced in 2010 after being married for eight years. She told the AP Kinnunen got "more and more" into drugs and "it messed with his head." She said said she hadn't spoken to Kinnunen in years and learned from news reports that he was the church attacker. She said she and Kinnunen used to attend church together and that there were times he appeared to be off drugs, but that he was frightening by the end of their six-year marriage.

"Mentally, I know he was mentally ill," she told NBC 5. "The last time he spoke to us he just wasn't in his right mind. I didn't know how to go about talking to him about it."

Holloway said she doesn't know whether Kinnunen was ever diagnosed with a mental illness and that she wasn't sure if he could legally have guns, but that he consistently did.

"I don't know how he got them, I just know that he did have them," she said.

Authorities said Kinnunen's motive remained under investigation. He was fatally shot by Jack Wilson, a member of the church's volunteer security team, within seconds of the attack.


The man who shot a gunman at a Sunday church service sits down with NBC 5’s Katy Blakey.

Video: Jack Wilson Sits Down With NBC 5, Says He Killed 'An Evil'


"The only clear shot I had was his head because I still had people in the pews that were not all the way down as low as they could. That was my one shot," Wilson said Monday from his home in nearby Granbury, adding that several other churchgoers had their weapons drawn as well.

Wilson told NBC 5 Monday that he killed an evil on Sunday, not a human, and that that is how he's coping with what took place in the auditorium.

"I don’t feel like I’m a hero. I feel like I did what I needed to do to stop an evil threat," said Wilson.


Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick joined several law enforcement officials outside West Freeway Church of Christ Sunday after a shooting in which two parishioners were killed.

Raw Video: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Addresses Shooting


The actions of Wilson and other armed churchgoers quickly drew praise from some Texas lawmakers and gun-rights advocates. Texas officials hailed the state's gun laws, including a measure enacted this year that affirmed the right of licensed handgun holders to carry a weapon inside places of worship unless a facility bans them.

"We can't prevent every incident, we can't prevent mental illness from occurring, and we can't prevent every crazy person from pulling a gun, but we can be prepared like this church was," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told reporters Monday.


Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says he hopes more houses of worship learn from Sunday’s shooting at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement and take a similar approach to being prepared for an attack. The church has an armed security team that includs volunteer members of the congregation and stopped an active shooting on Sunday within six...

Video: Texas AG Ken Paxton Hopes More Churches Prepare for Shootings


President Donald Trump tweeted Monday night and Tuesday morning about the attack, both times highlighting the role of armed citizens in stopping the shooter.

"If it were not for the fact that there were people inside of the church that were both armed, and highly proficient in using their weapon, the end result would have been catastrophic. A big THANK YOU to them!" Trump tweeted Tuesday.

But other Texas lawmakers, while praising the churchgoers' actions, called for a special legislative session to address gun violence after a devastating year that included mass shootings in El Paso and the West Texas cities of Odessa and Midland.

"As lawmakers, we must come together to address the rise in gun violence we have seen in Texas," state Sen. Beverly Powell, D-Fort Worth, said in a statement Monday. "Yesterday's gunman had a long criminal record, including charges of aggravated assault and possession of an illegal weapon. We must respect the Second Amendment while also working together to keep guns out of the hands of those who wish to do harm to Texans worshiping in a church, attending school or shopping for their children."

Funeral arrangements for the victims have not yet been made public.

Suspect's Right to Own a Gun Examined in Investigation

It's unclear whether Kinnunen's extensive criminal record and psychological history would have barred him from legally buying the shotgun he used during Sunday's attack.

Authorities have said Kinnunen's motive remains under investigation and they declined to comment on how he obtained the gun he used, although a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it had successfully traced the weapon.

In 2012, a district judge in Oklahoma ruled him mentally incompetent to stand trial and ordered him committed to a psychiatric facility for treatment. Kinnunen was charged with felony assault and battery with a dangerous weapon after he attacked the owner of a Chickasha, Oklahoma, doughnut shop in 2011, court records state.

He was separately charged with arson that year after allegedly starting a fire in a cotton field by tying tampons soaked in lamp oil to the crop. Earlier on the day of that fire, Kinnunen soaked a football in the accelerant, lit it on fire and then threw it back and forth with his son, who was a minor, according to the arrest affidavit. The boy told police he was afraid his father would get mad if he asked to stop.

A forensic psychologist who examined him in 2012 wrote that "Kinnunen currently evidences signs that are consistent with a substantial mental illness and that meet the inpatient criteria of a 'person requiring treatment.'"

Records show Kinnunen was found competent to stand trial in February 2013, however both criminal cases were ultimately reduced to misdemeanors, to which he pleaded guilty.

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