Churchgoers kill gunman who shot two during Texas service




Law enforcement vehicles are parked outside West Freeway Church of Christ where a shooting took place at the morning service on December 29, 2019 in White Settlement, Texas
Law enforcement vehicles are parked outside West Freeway Church of Christ where a shooting took place at the morning service on December 29, 2019 in White Settlement, Texas  

Houston (AFP) - Worshippers in the US state of Texas shot dead a gunman who opened fire during a livestreamed Sunday service, ending an attack that killed two parishioners, authorities said.

The latest US shooting at a house of worship took place in the suburban Fort Worth community of White Settlement on Sunday morning when the gunman entered West Freeway Church of Christ, officials said.

"A couple of members of the church returned fire, striking the suspect who died at the scene," White Settlement Police Chief J.P. Bevering told reporters.

He praised the "heroic actions of those parishioners" for ending the threat, although he said one of the suspect's victims died at a local hospital.

A second parishioner later died, authorities told reporters at an evening news conference.

The FBI said it was working to find a motive for the attack.

"Places of worship are meant to be sacred, and I am grateful for the church members who acted quickly to take down the shooter and help prevent further loss of life," Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement.

"Our hearts go out to the victims and families of those killed in the evil act of violence that occurred at the West Freeway Church of Christ," he added.

The church regularly posts its services online and a video of the attack was livestreamed on their website.

Guns kill about 36,000 people a year in the United States -- one of the most heavily armed countries in the world -- through suicides, homicides, police-involved shootings and accidents.

The country has lived through a sharp rise in mass shootings in recent years, alarming the public and triggering new debate on how to control this epidemic of violence.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will only bring a gun bill to the floor if it has presidential backing, but President Donald Trump has given no clear preference.

In November 2017 a gunman shot dead 26 worshippers during a service at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, outside San Antonio.

Almost a year later, in October 2018, an anti-Semitic shooter killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

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