Whenever such horrors as the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas occur stories emerging of American citizens jumping in to do whatever they can to help. Johnnie Langendorff was one of those people on Sunday.
He spoke to CNN on Monday and recounted his response to the shooting, in which he gave chase at 95 mph for 10 to 12 minutes with an armed civilian later identified as 55-year-old Stephen Willeford. The latter was engaging shooter Devin Patrick Kelley in a gunfight.
Langendorff was driving by after Kelley had opened fire at the First Baptist Church and killed 26, wounding dozens more.
CNN’s John Berman asked Langendorff what was going through his mind at the time and he replied that his only focus was catching Kelley.
“I had to catch the guy. I had to make sure he was caught and at that point the gentleman riding with me said you may have to use your truck to get him off the road and there was no hesitation. It was do everything necessary to make sure that this guy is stopped,” he said, noting that he was in hot pursuit at speeds as high as 95 mph.
The pressure made Kelley lose control of his vehicle. Willeford got out his rifle used the hood of Langedorff’s to hold Kelley at gunpoint. Langendorff believed Kelley “just gave up.”
Police say Kelley took his own life.
“He did absolutely the right thing which was try and take him down on the scene,” Langendorff added about Willeford.
Although he realized those affected and their families would never be the same again he hoped that the knowledge that Kelley would “never breathe again” would help them “rest a little better.”
“I hope that everyone affected is able to rest a little better knowing that this guy, he’ll never breathe again. It doesn’t serve it justice completely. But he won’t hurt anyone else ever,” he said.
Willeford later confirmed in an interview with the Dallas Morning News that he was the first to confront Kelley and revealed that he had friends in the church.
“I didn’t want this and I want the focus to be on my friends,” he said. “I have friends in that church. I was terrified while this was going on.”