Anton ‘Tony’ Wallace: A Tribute to the Slain Deacon

tony wallace

Facebook Tony Wallace, one of the two victims.

Anton “Tony” Wallace was a deacon, registered nurse, father and grandfather before his life was senselessly taken by a gunman in the West Freeway Church of Christ in Texas.

Wallace was named by NBC Dallas-Fort Worth as one of the two innocent victims killed when a gunman pulled out a firearm and started shooting during church services on December 29, 2019. Rich White, a member of the church’s security team, was also killed by the shooter. The gunman was then shot and killed by Jack Wilson, the head of security for the church who was the owner of a firearms training academy for years, and another armed parishioner. The gunman has not yet been named; nor is his motive clear.

What is clear is that Wallace left behind a grieving family and congregation that cared about him very much. “We lost two great men today,” Britt Farmer, the church’s senior minister, told NBC News.

Here’s what you need to know:

Wallace’s Daughter Described Him as ‘Amazing’ & Said He Was Handing Out Communion When He Was Shot

To NBC Dallas-Fort Worth, Wallace’s daughter remembered her dad, saying, “He was amazing. He was a godly person and even when we talked about going to heaven he always said, ‘I’m always prepared.’ But you never thought this would happen.”

Tiffany Wallace was in the church when the shooting occurred and told the television station her father was handing out Communion.

“I ran toward my dad and the last thing I remember is him asking for oxygen and I was just holding him, telling him I loved him and that he was going to make it,” Wallace said to the television station.

Wallace Was Remembered as an ‘Incredible Person’ Who Devoted His Life ‘to Helping Others’ & Was Described as a ‘Child of God’

Tributes flowed in for Tony Wallace.

“Today our family lost one of our leaders to a senseless and horrifying act of violence!?” wrote Tony’s niece, Lindsey Wallace.

“My uncle Tony was an Amazing Man and child of God. He was an amazing husband, father, papa, brother and uncle. I ask yal to please send prayers up and lift my Aunt Julie, my cousins who are my sisters Sarah Nike-Wallace and Tiffany Wallace, his loves…his grandkids, my dad, aunts and uncles and my entire family up as we are going through something nobody should ever have to. Hug your family, tell them you love them…life is too short! I will do my best to help Sarah and keep everybody updated on services and arrangements as this is a hard time for my cousins, aunt and family. Please bare with them and please be respectful of their space! Thank you all for the prayers and love we truly appreciate it!”

“Just hearing that this horrible tragedy has struck even closer to home,” wrote one man on Facebook. “One of those killed today was Tony Wallace. I grew up with Tony Wallace in Mineral Wells. He was a year or two ahead of me. Graduated in the same class with his younger brother Al (Alva) Wallace. Good friends with his late mother and father who were leaders in the Mineral Wells Community…., Lord Jesus!”

“RIP, friend. The world lost an incredible person today. Tony, you will be greatly missed,” wrote another friend on Facebook.

Another man described Tony as having “Devoted his life to helping others. Prayers for his family ?#fellownurse.”

Wallace Worked as a Nurse Manager at a Fort Worth Hospital & Was a Regular Attendee of the Texas Church

On Facebook, Wallace defined himself as “Nurse Manager at THR Harris Methodist Hemodialysis Unit” and “Former R.N. THR-Harris Methodist in Hemodialysis Unit at THR- Harris Methodist.” He wrote that he was married, went to Mineral Wells High School, and studied at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Tiffany Wallace told NBC of the shooter: “Whatever he needed, he didn’t need to taken an innocent life — our dad, grandfather, husband, father, fixing to be father-in-law. He was just our rock.”

NBC reported that he was a regular parishioner at the church.

Rich White, the Other Victim, Was a Member of the Church’s Security Team

One man whose mother was in the church called Rich White a “hero.” A live stream video that captured the shooting shows the gunman open fire on a church official before shooting a second man who reaches toward his waistband. CNN reported that “two members of the church security team shot and killed him.” One of them was Jack Wilson, the head of security for the church, according to a post he put on Facebook. The second member was not identified.

“Two of the parishioners who are volunteers on the security force drew their weapons and took out the killer immediately, saving untold number of lives,” said Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

On Facebook, White said he was “Sales Mgr at Tankheads, Inc.” who “studied at Angelo State University” and lived in Fort Worth, Texas. He was from Monahans, Texas and was married to wife, Glenda, who works at the church, according to her Facebook page.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in a news conference that the church security members were heroes. “The heroism today is unparalleled,” Patrick said. “This team responded quickly, and within six seconds the shooting was over.”

Mike Tinius, a church elder, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the gunman had drawn the attention of the church security team because of his appearance, but he didn’t elaborate.

Parishioner Isabel Arreola told the newspaper of the security team: “They saved us. Unfortunately, two men lost their lives while they were doing so.”

Patrick said the way the church security team responded would be “studied and watched by law enforcement, private citizens, and churches or anyone else who trains in their own security to see how lives can be saved.”

The newspaper reported that Texas state law, passed in 2017, allows armed security guards in churches and, in September 2019, a law passed that allows “licensed handgun owners to bring their firearms to church as long as the church does not oppose it.”

READ NEXT: Read About Jack Wilson’s Heroism.