Texas Man Becomes Unlikely Hero After Chasing Down Church Shooter

It was a quick decision but a heroic one.

Editor's note: A Plus does not publish the names of mass shooters in an effort to combat mass shooting contagion. Throughout this piece, we will refer to the alleged perpetrator of this attack as the suspect.

For Johnnie Langendorff, it was an unusual turn of events: he went from visiting his girlfriend to chasing down an alleged mass murderer in a matter of seconds.

Langendorff, a Texas resident, was driving past the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs when he saw two men exchanging fire in the parking lot. One, the suspect in the church shooting, was in all black and holding a pistol. He got into a running Ford Explorer and drove off. The other, a barefoot man brandishing a rifle, approached Langendorff's car.


"The neighbor with the rifle came to my truck and he opened my door and said, 'He just shot up the church,' and got in," Langendorff told Good Morning America. "He said, 'Chase him,' so that's what I did. I just chased him."

What Langendorff didn't know was that 26 people were dead inside the church, another 11 injured, in what is being considered one of the worst mass shootings in United States history.

So Langendorff and the neighbor gave chase. They followed the man onto 1nterstate 87, then onto Highway 539. Langendorff's says they hit 95 miles per hour while in pursuit. The suspect eventually lost control of his car and crashed. 

"I was on the phone with dispatch the entire time," Langendorff told The Washington Post. "I gave them the direction we were going, on what road and everything, and that the vehicle was in sight and that I was getting closer and closer to him."

Once the suspect crashed, the man who had been in the shoot-out got out of Langendorff's car and laid his rifle across the hood, aiming it at the suspect's vehicle. They calmly ordered the suspect to get out of the car as authorities arrived, but there was "no movement," according to Langendorff. After about five minutes, police were on the scene.

The suspect was found dead inside the car. Texas state authorities told The Washington Post that they have yet to determine if he died from a self-inflicted gun wound or an injury from the shoot-out at the church. 

Asked how he decided to jump into action so quickly, Langendorff told The Washington Post it was a simple calculation.

"He just hurt so many people, he affected so many people's lives, why wouldn't you want to take him down?"

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