How 2 Strangers Helped Stop The Texas Church Shooter In His Tracks

Johnnie Langendorff
Photo via Associated Press

Former airman Devin Patrick Kelley killed 26 people and wounded 20 others when he opened fire at the First Baptist Church of Sunderland Springs, Texas on the morning of Nov. 5 — and he might have escaped had it not been for the efforts of two complete strangers.

Johnnie Langendorff was driving on his way to his girlfriend's house near the church when he stumbled upon Kelley, clad in what law enforcement authorities have described as “black tactical gear and a ballistic vest” and armed with multiple weapons, trading gunfire with an unidentified church neighbor. After a few minutes, Kelley entered his Ford Explorer and fled the scene, leaving the neighbor to recruit Langendorff for a simple mission: We can’t let this scumbag get away.

“I never got a look at [Kelley] … I saw the gunfire,” Langendorff told the Washington Post. “[The second man] briefed me quickly on what had just happened and said he had to get him, so that’s what I did.”

To the average American, Langendorff looks like the epitome of a Texan: a slow drawl and the prongs of a longhorn tattooed across his neck. Langendorff sped through traffic in hot pursuit of Kelley, approaching 100 mph and feeding instructions to police dispatchers while his anonymous partner sat shotgun.

After several nerve-wracking minutes, Kelley lost control of his SUV, weaving from the road to a dirt ditch just over 10 miles from First Baptist. Langendorff, still on the phone with police, parked his truck 25 yards away. His partner, still gripping his rifle, sprang into action.

Related: Texas Church Shooter Was Kicked Out Of Air Force After Beating His Wife And Child »

“The gentleman that was with me got out, rested his rifle on my hood and kept it aimed at him, telling him to get out, get out,” Langendorff told the Washington Post. “There was no movement, there was none of that. I just know his brake lights were going on and off, so he might have been unconscious from the crash or something like that, I’m not sure,” he said.

State and local law enforcement arrived at the site of Kelley’s SUV within a few minutes — and while officials told the Washington Post that they had yet to determine if the gunman died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound or gunfire exchanged with the neighbor who rushed to the grounds of First Baptist, Langendorff likely helped facilitate his capture.

Law enforcement officials investigate a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017.Photo via Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman/Associated Press

Kelley’s motive remains a mystery.  The 26-year-old former airman served from 2010 to 2012 at the Logistics Readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico before receiving a bad conduct discharge in 2014 for assaulting his wife and child, Air Force spokesman Ann Stefanek told reporters on Nov. 5. Kelley was sentenced to a reduction in rank and a year in military detention; due to the nature of his discharge, Kelley was prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm under federal law.

The shooting is the deadliest in Texas history — and the deadliest to occur in a church since Dylann Roof slaughtered 9 parishioners at a Charleston, South Carolina house of worship in 2015. But Langendorff didn’t know any of this: As he told reporters, he “just acted” when he learned what had happened inside First Baptist.

"The other gentleman said we needed to pursue (the shooter) because he shot up the church," he told reporters. "So that's what I did."

What started as a wildly popular Facebook hoax titled Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us back in June has since morphed into a real live event. That's right, the long awaited day is upon us.

As of Friday morning, people have begun to make their way to the secret U.S. military installation in the Nevada desert in search of answers to the questions that plague us all: Are we alone in the universe? Is our government secretly hiding a bunch of aliens? Just how fast can I "Naruto run" past the base gate? And how far can we take a joke with the U.S. military?

Read More Show Less

The Marine Corps is loading up one of its experimental unmanned ground vehicle with a buttload of firepower.

The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab is working on a prototype of its tracked Expeditionary Modular Autonomous Vehicle (EMAV) with a remote-controlled .50 caliber machine gun turret and a specialized launcher for kamikaze drones to accompany Marines in urban environments, reports.

Read More Show Less

An Air Force civilian has died at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar in a "non-combat related incident," U.S. Air Forces Central Command announced on Friday.

Jason P. Zaki, 32, died on Wednesday while deployed to the 609th Air Operations Center from the Pentagon, an AFCENT news release says.

Read More Show Less
President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, right, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe, left, walk at Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club, Tuesday, April 17, 2018, in Palm Beach, Fla. (Associated Press//Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

At a time when taxpayer and foreign-government spending at Trump Organization properties is fueling political battles, a U.S. Marine Corps reserve unit stationed in South Florida hopes to hold an annual ball at a venue that could profit the commander in chief.

The unit is planning a gala to celebrate the 244th anniversary of the Marines' founding at President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach on Nov. 16, according to a posting on the events website Evensi.

Read More Show Less

Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

QUANTICO, Virginia -- They may not be deadly, but some of the nonlethal weapons the Marine Corps is working on look pretty devastating.

The Marine Corps Joint Nonlethal Weapons Directorate is currently testing an 81mm mortar round that delivers a shower of flashbang grenades to disperse troublemakers. There is also an electric vehicle-stopper that delivers an electrical pulse to shut down a vehicle's powertrain, designed for use at access control points.

"When you hear nonlethal, you are thinking rubber bullets and batons and tear gas; it's way more than that," Marine Col. Wendell Leimbach Jr., director of the Joint Nonlethal Weapons Directorate, told an audience at the Modern Day Marine 2019 expo.

Read More Show Less