A man from Seguin, Texas is being heralded as a hero for chasing down the suspect of a shooting at a church which left 26 people dead and 20 more injured.
Johnnie Langendorff’s girlfriend, Summer Caddell told KSAT News that she received a call from him during the afternoon, just moments after the November 5 shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. He told her that he saw a gunfight between the suspect, 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, and a citizen, Stephen Willeford. Langendorff and Willeford chased Kelley in his vehicle and ran him off the road, Caddell said.
The chase ended near a curve close to county roads 307 and 539 in Guadalupe County. Kelley was discovered by authorities deceased in his car with a gunshot wound. It’s not clear if he shot himself or if the men who pursued him shot him.
Here’s what you need to know about Langendorff and the mass shooting:
1. Langendorff Said He Was Just Doing the Right Thing When He Pursued Kelley
Langendorff said in the news interview in the video above that he was driving near the scene in his truck when he noticed the suspect and another man exchanging gunfire. He said that Kelley hopped into an SUV, and the other man quickly explained the situation before Langendorff offered to drive him.
“I knew it was just time to go,” he told the news outlet.
The two reportedly chased Kelley’s vehicle and reached speeds of around 95 miles per hour in order to catch up with him. All the while, they were on the phone with 911 and led officers to Kelley’s location. As they approached his vehicle on the roadway, Langendorff said Kelley lost control and crashed. They two men got out of Langendorff’s truck after the accident and noticed that Kelley wasn’t moving in his SUV. He added that it took about 5-7 minutes for officers to respond to the scene.
“It was strictly just acting on what the right thing to do was,” he said during the TV interview.
Police say the shooting started when Kelley, wearing tactical gear and a ballistic vest, began shooting a weapon from outside of the church. He kept firing as he walked inside, taking aim at parishioners who were attending a worship service.
One of the victims was the 14-year-old daughter of the pastor at the church. The ages of the victims range from 5 to 72-years old, police say.
2. A Photo of the Scene Shows Langendorff’s Truck Nearby the Accident
In a Facebook post, Caddell wrote that her boyfriend was on his way home when he noticed the incident unfolding in front of him. She said that Langendorff and the other citizen successfully ran Kelley’s vehicle off the road. She posted a photo of the scene that was broadcast on TV, saying that Langendorff’s truck was in the middle of the action.
“I am beyond thankful that my boyfriend chased that sick ass down before he did anymore damage,” she wrote in the caption. “Again Johnnie is safe and I’m just awaiting for his future phone calls from him and when he can come home.”
Thousands of people from across the globe commented on the post thanking Langendorff for his heroic actions.
“God bless him for stepping up and maybe saving other lives,” Facebook user Shirley Janow wrote. “And thanking God for his protection on your boyfriend.”
3. Langendorff Is a Hunting Enthusiast
According to their Facebook profiles, Langendorff and Caddell have been in a romantic relationship since July 22. He’s worked for NAPA Auto Parts since May 2014 and is an avid hunter, posts to his Facebook page indicate. He also has a large tattoo of the skull of a bull on his neck, which was completed in 2013.
Langendorff graduated from Nixon-Smiley High School in Nixon, Texas in 2009, his Classmates.com profile indicated.
Caddell told KSAT that she hadn’t heard from her boyfriend in hours, and he was ordered to give up his phone to authorities as evidence.
4. Langendorff’s Facebook Posts Include Powerful Quotes & Many About Caddell
Langendorff frequently posts photos with Caddell on his Facebook account along with other content about current events.
“Oh how much I love this woman!” a caption on a photo post October 12 said. “Words cannot explain enough. Actions cannot show enough how much she truly means to me! But I’ll always do the best I can for her day in and day out.”
On October 29, one week before the shooting, Langendorff posted a photo saying: “And we deserve some good after all the s**t we’ve been through” in reference to current events.
Another post that he shared October 5 showed that he holds religious beliefs. “God is saying to you today, ‘It’s going to be okay!'” the post said. “You have believed despite the situation. Because of your faith, I am going to bless, favor and increase you. Your breakthrough is coming.”
“Likes” on Langendorff’s Facebook page include many country music and rock-and-roll acts, outdoors companies, trucks and pastor Joel Osteen. He doesn’t appear to have any political affiliation or posts about politics in general.
In 2014, Langendorff did the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge,” where people raised awareness and money for The ALS Association by videotaping themselves getting doused by a bucket of ice water.
Another video post shows that he’s a bull rider and has attended rodeos in the past.
5. The Other Man With Langendorff Hasn’t yet Been Identified
The other man who pursued Kelley hasn’t yet been identified but is described as being a neighbor of the church. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said special agents from its Houston and San Antonio branches responded to the shooting and are assisting in the investigation. No motive has been identified yet, and officials said there’s no evidence suggesting Kelley was part of a terrorist organization.
Sutherland Springs is a small unincorporated town about 40 miles east of San Antonio. Its reported population in 2000 was 362 people.
The mass shooting comes a little over one month after a gunman opened fire on thousands of people gathered at a concert across from his Las Vegas hotel room. Fifty-eight people died and over 500 others were injured in what was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.