Sutherland Springs “Good Guy with a Gun” Stephen Willeford: “I Got My AR-15 Out of My Safe . . .” [Video]

As you may know, Stephen Willeford (above) is the “good guy with a gun” who confronted a mass shooter coming out of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. In an interview with Steven Crowder (below), Mr. Willeford recounts his heroic actions on that fateful Sunday. We learn that he responded to the sound of gunfire by grabbing an AR-15 with an EOTech red dot sight out of his safe. But . . .

didn’t have a magazine loaded. So he grabbed a handful of ammo and started loading a single magazine and headed for the crime scene.

Mr. Willeford, an NRA instructor, offers a fascinating account of the incident. He describes the killer’s armament; when Mr. Willeford engaged shooter Devin Kelley, the murderer was shooting a handgun, wearing a Kevlar vest.

When Kelley scarpered, Mr. Willeford flagged down a passing truck and chased him. At some point, Mr. Willeford prepared to re-engage — despite the fact that he had two — count ’em two — rounds left.

The interview touches on gun control. Mr. Willeford points out that he was not under-gunned because he was able to possess an “assault rifle” (my words).

Mr. Willeford says he’s under siege from the press, “a prisoner in my own home.” He pleads with the media to focus on the victims. Mr. Willeford also reckons he’s going to need some counseling. We wish him well in the future — which is going to be very different than the one that Mr. Willeford, his family and his community envisioned before Sunday morning.

comments

  1. avatar Billy bob joe says:

    it’s not the amount of bullets it’s the accuracy that counts.

    1. avatar Bill says:

      BOTH are good 🙂

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        But between the two, I’ll take accuracy of fire over volume of fire every day. (Not that they’re mutually exclusive…)

    2. avatar Mark Lee says:

      “One shot, one …”

    3. avatar Rattlerjake says:

      My only criticism is that I hope he learned a lesson about preparedness. Being a Texan and an NRA instructor, he should be well aware that it is important to have weapons loaded in the safe, or at least some magazines for each weapon already loaded. If this had been a home invasion I fear that he would NOT have been able to defend himself or his family.
      Otherwise GREAT job of removing trash from society! And KUDOs to his daughter who was alert and notified her dad of the gunfire!

    4. avatar raptor jesus says:

      Actually studies conducted by the Germans, Russians, and Americans before, during, and after WWII found that it was the volume of bullets that counted.

      Hence the development of the Stg44 and the AK47 – the first assault rifles.

  2. avatar jwm says:

    Santa saw a boy being very naughty and busted a cap in his ass.

    1. avatar Noishkel says:

      Hah! XD

    2. avatar Mister Fleas says:

      HA HA!!

    3. avatar BLoving says:

      Doubtless, if he had a choice at this point he’d like to go back to being Santa instead of “the guy who shot back” – but his future from here on will be quite different.
      Being a gun guy, I must wonder if he visits this site. If so, then Stephen: welcome! Youre among friends here and a good many of us will never allow you to buy your own beer ever again. 🤠

  3. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

    Mr. Willeford, you are the man.

  4. avatar Swobard says:

    Thank you sir, for your willingness to act, and the advance preparations you made to enable you to act.

  5. Can’t think of anytime since owning any of my ARs or handguns where I didn’t have a few mags loaded for a bad scenario. But nonetheless thank you for your actions sir.

    1. avatar Bill says:

      Agreed 100%. I always try to keep at least three magazines handy for any firearm I have on me or close by. Sometimes six. A hellstorm of hot lead if ever required sufficient to terminate a threat or threats.

      1. avatar Snatchums says:

        I’ve always been a little apprehensive of leaving magazines fully loaded for the sake of the magazine spring. Can anyone give any advice as to if I should underload them or rotate or something else? As it is right now I just rotate my ammo between magazines every couple of months, is that a good practice?

        1. avatar AngryAz says:

          Yes rotating every few months is correct answer….. oh and voting against killary

        2. avatar Brandon says:

          There are lots of anecdotal stories out there about having magazines loaded to capacity for years, if not decades, and still functioning reliably. With high quality magazines the springs shouldn’t be an issue, but I don’t see a problem if it gives you peace of mind to rotate mags. I usually rotate my mags monthly when I expend the ammo in them at the range.

        3. avatar HP says:

          You can rotate them, but it’s not going to hurt the magazines to keep them loaded. I’ve got magazines that with the exception of being emptied at the range every several months, have been loaded constantly for well over 10 years. They work fine.

        4. avatar Button Gwinnett says:

          Springs do not lose strength from being compressed. You can leave a magazine loaded forever. They lose strength in the compression and relaxation process – loading and unloading; in other words, they break down from use, as the Good Lord intended.

          And I have at least a half dozen loaded mags. Sorry, NRA. My guns are ALWAYS ready for use. But then I have no rug rats or other undesirables in the home.

        5. avatar Andrew Lias says:

          Yep, I always have a couple guns “patrol ready” in the safe. I’m careful about when I feel it is a good balance of readiness and safety. Also always have a few mags loaded at any given time as mentioned. They are 20-25 rounds in a 30, but better than fumbling to load a mag when you want it.

        6. avatar Chris T in KY says:

          This video is about 12 minutes long. This person had his magazine loaded for several years as an experiment. Here are the results. Its very informative.

          “Do magazine springs lose power when loaded for years?”

        7. avatar Jake says:

          You can leave them fully loaded, springs have an elastic weight and a plastic weight (might not be the correct terms).
          Basically, the elastic weight is any amount of force that a spring can hold and then resume original form after removing the weight. Plastic weight is where the spring will be permanently deformed after the weight is applied.
          Think of a slinky, if you play with it normally, you’re good to go, but if you keep pulling on it, it will stretch out of form and cease to collapse. Your magazines are the same only they use compression rather than tension.

  6. avatar joetast says:

    Don’t mess with TEXAS

  7. avatar racer88 says:

    That is one good man and a fine example of an American Patriot.

  8. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    Good man.

  9. avatar Bill says:

    Outstanding job by this citizen have the presence of mind to direct deadly accurate fire like that, considering it came out of the blue and he had to engage in a running tactical load situation (no ammo in his magazine). Plus, it’s highly unlikely he had ever encountered a live fire situation before. His preparation in life both as a shooter and NRA instructor is the result. Always carry proudly and be prepared to be a hero if you have to — for yourself, your family, your friends, and the innocents around you.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      “Always carry proudly and be prepared to be a hero if you have to — for yourself, your family, your friends, and the innocents around you.”

      Have you seen the number of comments around here about how “My gun is for me and mine only. I would never intervene”? It’s a lot. Like a scary number. Personally I think those comments reflect the candyass nature of the people making them, but hey, to each their own I guess.

      1. avatar Esoteric Inanity says:

        Do not circumstances ultimately dictate as to what is feasible and what is not in regards to such actions? Personal characteristics would also play a part, after all who can say as to what one is capable of until such a time comes to test their mettle.

        This one would like to believe that most fellow countrymen, irregardless of their race, religion or creed, would act in order to assists their fellow citizens. However, under a plethora of circumstances, Esoteric Inanity does not entirely know as to how he would react nor how effective he may be.

        Words from one’s lips are but mere whispers, while actions in turn can be quite deafening.

        1. avatar ORCON says:

          Regardless or irrespective, for Pete’s sake! Please and thank-you.

        2. avatar Esoteric Inanity says:

          Irregardless of………..what?

          This is Esoteric Inanity, not Exoteric Sanity.

      2. avatar Herp says:

        I have a one year old and a two year old that would need to be got to safety in a mass shooting. They’re priority # 1 for me. I guess I’m candy-assed then. If everyone were candy-assed enough to carry a gun to protect themselves and their own, these “countrymen” of mine wouldn’t need my protection. If I were older, with the kids on their own, and less time of my own left, I might be a hero. But certainly not when I have a wife and kids to provide for.

        1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

          Amen.

  10. avatar Defens says:

    Sir, I only hope I can respond with the grit and determination you displayed, if the time ever arises.

    1. avatar Esoteric Inanity says:

      Indeed, all should be so lucky to act with such courage and resolve.

  11. avatar neiowa says:

    Why a progtard SOP of an unloaded firearm, locked in a safe, is as useless as Hillary’s broomstick.

    Or when seconds counted the AR was too many seconds away.

    I hope Magpul (and the firearms business in general) sending multiple buttloads of swag to the stud.

    1. avatar MatKep says:

      Magpul? How about maglula? This man needs to get over his fear of keeping loaded mags. I jest (partially), this man is a hero and deserves high praises from every American not just the firearms industry and enthusiasts.

  12. avatar LHW says:

    Oh no, he used a weapon of war. /sarc

  13. avatar strych9 says:

    Damn well done, Sir!

    Also, a well done interview. A hat tip to Mr. Crowder on that. Full standing ovation for Mr. Willeford.

  14. avatar FlamencoD says:

    Stephen Willeford – American hero. What a selfless and brave act to defend his fellow citizens and save other lives from being taken.

    1. avatar Esoteric Inanity says:

      Amen, the man’s honor and resolve put him among the ranks of the einherjar. May he one day see the Valkyries fly.

      Sál fullr tor hjärta líkr stál Mr. Willeford.

  15. avatar Larry Cowden says:

    Mr. Crowder,
    You set the moral and correct example for others to follow. Ignore your detractors for they have no moral weight or sense of duty. Cowards like them are more than a dime a dozen.
    Talk to someone about what you have been through. It will help. I wish you luck.

  16. avatar Lhstr says:

    Pretty amazing, on foot running, loading, firing, not spilling ammo all over, quit amazing. My weapons are all loaded, I don’t have any children in my home. I train in defense monthly. Great job and a good person. Be cool

  17. avatar guns are cool says:

    Hero!

  18. avatar joetast says:

    It’d be nice if Trump gave him some kind of medal,. Start new copycat trend in new direction,, start honoring every DGU big time news stories… Good going Sir, well done

    1. avatar rick3 says:

      I really like that idea!

  19. avatar Bruce Shell says:

    Mr. Willeford, you are my hero! Such a kind, humble man that stood in the face of evil, God bless you! I will never forget this interview, sir!

  20. avatar Gutshot says:

    A real American and a good man!

  21. avatar CZJay says:

    Las Vegas SWAT team’s response time? An old Texas white man’s response time?

    By the time SWAT got their body armor on and grabbed their rifles, the old man and his new buddy got the shooter to kill himself.

  22. avatar Ansel Hazen says:

    I read in another report that after his daughter alerted him to the incident he went to the safe to get his gun. He could hear the shots as he was opening it and says he knew what each one probably meant. And that it was likely people he knew.

    Willeford is a hero not just for his response, but for what is now on his shoulders. I don’t doubt he will need counseling. He will hear those shots for the rest of his life.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      My money says he will always have a loaded mag, as well.

      1. avatar Ansel Hazen says:

        I tend to get lazy around hunting season because the only mag I can have with me is the 5 rounder. Reading about Willefords situation has been an epiphany. One I will be correcting after dinner tonight.

        1. avatar ACP_arms says:

          Not get off topic, but it’s kinda cool to come across another person named Ansel. It’s not a vary common name.

  23. avatar Larry says:

    A true American hero. Thank you for your actions.

  24. avatar Badabing says:

    Good job, but how many lives could have been saved if the gun was ready? That is probably on Mr. Willeford’s mind which will require counseling. However, he should not blame himself, it was the POS who was responsible for those lost lives.

  25. avatar CLarson says:

    What a humble man. The whole video is worth watching.

  26. avatar Kevin says:

    Strong work. There should be a visit to the White House for him.

  27. avatar DerryM says:

    The heroic actions of Stephen Willeford and Johnnie Langendorff just go to show that we are our own best first responders and immediate defenders when evil strikes. Mr. Willeford’s humility is an outstanding example for all Americans. Hopefully, he will come to grips with the trauma he may have experienced. I think the vast majority of us never, ever want to have to use our guns on another Human Being and hopefully the vast majority of us can step-up and do what must be done, as Mr. Willeford did, if the immediate situation calls for it.

  28. avatar Mike says:

    A true American hero.

  29. avatar Marcus says:

    Its time for real federal gun control laws 10 year mandatory sentence per straw purchase, 5 years per lie on a 4473, 20 years for knowingly supplying any weapon to a prohibited person, life or death as an accessory to murder especially for supplying terrorist. End the war on drugs as well 90% reduction in all gun homicides in one year instantly.

    1. avatar Jay says:

      That would have not done a damn thing. Time to enforce the NICS reporting system that these incompetent government agencies failed to do. The system is only as good as the info it is given. We don’t need more laws, we need WAY less but more effective ones and enforce them.

  30. avatar Maxi says:

    What kind of bullet proof vest did the shooter wear? Soft body armor level 3a (or lower) vest like a police vest or flak jacket where 5.56 zips right through? Or a plate carrier with level 3 or 4 hard body armor plates that are rifle rated (but leave the whole stomach region unprotected)?
    It would make sense not to aim on a plate carrier, but it only covers half the torso, shooting to the head or tummy is still possible. Soft body armor? Give it as much 223 as you have, it will kill him just fine.

  31. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    When the time came two men, real men stepped into the arena. Thank you both. I purchased my first AR15 two weeks ago. A Daniel Defense v11. I’m very happy with it.

  32. avatar Tina says:

    Being raised in a small town and community this story truly hits my heart. Now living in a bigger city sometimes I feel like a gunshot or any crime gets so overlooked. Kuddos to his daughter for notifing her dad of the situation. Staying alert and focused on any community can help prevent crime. Teaching awareness to not only ourselves but our children can maybe save a life. Love and hugs to the small town.

  33. avatar Margaret McKenzie says:

    tell him he saved my life, if that gunman went in for the 4th, i might been killed right along with my niece.

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