Johnnie Langendorff was driving past First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Sunday when he came across two men exchanging gunfire. He didn't know that Devin Patrick Kelley had just allegedly killed 26 people inside the church until the other man, a neighbor of the church, jumped inside Langendorff's truck.
"The neighbor with the rifle came to my truck and he opened my door and said, 'He just shot up the church,' and got in," Langendorff said today on Good Morning America. "He said, 'Chase him' so that's what I did. I just chased him."
Langendorff and the unidentified neighbor then followed Kelley, reaching speeds of 95 miles per hour. Langendorff was also on the phone with 911 dispatchers, trying to alert police that Kelley was on the move.
"It seemed everybody had headed up to the church," he said. "I'm not sure if anybody really realized that he had left and gone that direction."
Langendorff insists the situation was nothing "to freak out about" and that he had it under control.
"It was an act now, ask questions later kind of deal," he said. "It wasn't something that I needed to freak out about. The situation was, in a sense, under control and as long as I'm behind the wheel, I'm perfectly fine."
Langendorff said Kelley began to lost control of his vehicle, which he had kept idling when he was inside the church.
"He kind of started veering all over the place," Langendorff said. "He took out one road sign and from there he hit the guard rail and then hit the bar ditch."
Kelley crashed in his vehicle about ten miles from First Baptist Church. Langendorff said he parked his vehicle about 25 yards away from Kelley's so that his passenger could safely open fire.
Kelley was found dead in his vehicle, according to police. Authorities have not yet determined whether he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound or from gunfire from Langendorff's passenger.
Langendorff insists that despite being praised as a hero, he was just doing "the right thing."
"There was really no thought behind it," he said. "It was just, act to do what I thought was the right thing."
"The gentleman who got in my truck … all he really got out was, 'He just shot up the church. Follow him.' And, you know, that's enough for me to do anything, anything to help these people or to run the bad man down," Langendorff said.
A vigil was held on Sunday night to help the community come to terms with its 26 lost. Of those 26, the Wilson County Sheriff says that 12-14 were children. Those killed range in age from 5 years old to 72 and include the church's pastor's 14-year-old daughter.
Langendorff says he is new to the area but has already seen the heart of Sutherland Springs.
"From what I've learned just in the last 24 hours or so is that it's a great little community," he said. "There's definitely a lot of love and definitely a lot of care here."0comments
He continued, "So many people are pitching in, especially not just here but from all over the state of Texas. I'm not sure about other places yet but I know our bigger cities in Texas and stuff are all stepping up to help everybody and try and make this uneasy situation as easy as possible for the families and everyone involved and it's great to see everybody coming together and helping everybody out."
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