At Guns Save Life, we defend your right to defend yourself. Our freedom-loving members show incredible activism, and at the same time we show great support for good causes. One of those causes is making sure Stephen Willeford has a replacement rifle following his heroic acts that put an end to the Texas church massacre in Sutherland Springs.
On November 5th, hearing gunfire from a church about a block from his home, Mr. Willeford accessed his AR and loaded a few rounds into a magazine as he hurried to the sound of gunfire – barefoot.
He told me how his daughter started to follow him out of the house. He sent her back to load a full magazine to keep her busy. “I didn’t want to see me fail if I did,” he told me. He knew that would keep her out of the way until things sorted themselves out. “I didn’t want her in the line of fire, especially if I failed.”
Moments later, at a range of about twenty yards, he engaged the bad guy with his AR-15 equipped with an EOTech. Seeing how the bad guy wore armor, our grey-haired good guy sighted for the unprotected sides of the suspect while using a neighbor’s pickup truck for cover. Of course, the killer fired a bunch of rounds back at Willeford, fortunately missing.
Once wounded, the loser fled in his SUV. A bystander in a pickup truck saw the entire gun battle between the black-clad bad guy and the barefoot good guy. When Willeford asked the good Samaritan driver for help, the stranger didn’t hesitate.
The two pursued the killer while calling 9-1-1. As we now know, some of Mr. Willeford’s rounds found their mark. After a short car chase, the scumbag crashed his SUV and according to Willeford, he saw no further movement.
In an interview with Stephen Crowder, Mr. Willeford said the five to seven minutes the two men waited for law-enforcement to arrive after the crash seemed like an eternity.
Willeford said the first cop rolled up and over his PA system, ordered the driver out of the car with his hands up. Unsure of who the cop was talking to (and not wanting to get shot), Willeford put the gun down. From there, he raised his hands and walked to the back of the truck.
Over the PA, the cop shouted, “NOT YOU!” With that, Willeford went back and used his sample of America’s favorite rifle to cover the vehicle with the single officer until other cops arrived.
Interestingly, the police told him to stay put and provided cover for him to retreat from the truck before they knew the killer had expired and no longer posed a threat to innocent life.
As is common practice, the police seized Mr. Willeford’s rifle for evidence for the time being.
Guns Save Life contacted him a couple of weeks after the incident and offered him a membership in GSL, and we offered to provide a replacement for his rifle and the EOTech sight. We also included the past two issues of GunNews.
He called about a week later. In that phone call, he told me that he read our publication and liked it. “We could use a Guns Save Life here in Texas,” he said. He’s now a member.
He also related how some good people had replaced his rifle but he surely missed his beloved EOTech. I told him our GSL family could probably help him with that.
At the suggestion of some of our members, I contacted EOTech and within 48 hours, the director of marketing and product development replied with a willingness to send Mr. Willeford a new EOTech model EXPS2-2. Big kudos to them!
By this time, we had a dealer willing to provide the sight at wholesale cost. In addition, we had already collected about two-thirds of the money necessary to purchase the unit. Monies came from both online pledges and at the Peoria Guns Save Life meeting.
In our conversation, Willeford also indicated his near-term goal was to get rifles for his daughters. In his interview with Crowder, he noted they both shot expert before age 10. So, at the next GSL meeting in Rantoul, we passed the hat to collect the balance of the money necessary to purchase a second sight, with the idea he could put it on a rifle for one of his girls.
This incident proves to even cynical Americans that good guys with guns do indeed stop evil. Yes, even good guys using AR-15s.
Who only knows how many more people would have died if Mr. Willeford had not been there.
God bless you, Mr. Willeford. And God bless America!
As a side note, one of the survivors of the Sutherland Springs massacre has a Christmas wish. Tough little 5-year-old Ryland Ward survived five gunshots, and will likely remain in the hospital through Christmas. He’s asking for Christmas cards with photos of pets or a dollar bill. Fox News has the story.
5-year-old Texas church shooting victim wishes for Christmas cards
One of the youngest survivors of last month’s Sutherland Springs church shooting is requesting holiday cards be sent to him this Christmas as he continues to recover from the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history.
Ryland Ward, 5, does not yet know that his stepmother and two sisters were among the 26 killed in the Nov. 5 massacre at First Baptist Church, The Star-Telegram reported.
The boy was shot five times in the elbow, stomach and leg, and is having issues with his kidney and a shattered femur. Doctors are hopeful that he can head home in six to eight weeks, which means he’ll spend the holidays in the hospital. To help lift his spirits, he’s requested holiday cards be sent to him with photos of pets or a $1 inside.
P.O. Box 174
Sutherland Springs, Texas, 78161
Got an extra Christmas card? Help make this kid’s Christmas a little happier.