Nov 10, 2020
Riding Shotgun With Charlie
Last month, I was at the Rod of Iron Freedom Festival in Greeley, PA, and was able to get some time with one of the featured speakers, Stephen Willeford. We’ve all heard the story about what happened on November 5. 2017 at a church in Sutherland Springs, TX. Mr Willeford was the good guy with a gun who heard the gunshots, grabbed a handful of ammo and his AR 15 and headed to confront the murder.
Stephen Willeford grew up shooting and hunting on a dairy farm. He saved the money he earned to buy .22 ammo and eventually a .30-30 lever action rifle. As a parent, his church parishioners would have regular shooting competitions on Sundays, teaching the children gun safety while the mothers shot. Then the mothers would take the kids while the fathers shot.
On the day that changed Stephen’s life, he was taking it easy on a Sunday afternoon while he was on call at a local hospital where he was a plumber. His daughter heard gunshots nearby and yelled to her dad. Stephen grabbed his rifle and pursued the murderer at the church down the road. Stephen was able to distract the murderer and exchanged gunfire with him. The murderer ran out of the church and into the getaway car he had ready. Stephen ran to a man sitting in a truck, who saw the whole gun right. Stephen hopped into the stranger’s car who was arealdy talking to 911 on the phone.
Stephen and the driver, Johnny, got into a high speech chase for several miles. Stephen checked his rifle’s condition and found out he only had one round in the magazine and one in the chamber. He told the driver that they may have to crash into the car to stop it. But Johnny already knew that. The murderer ended up driving his car off the road and killed himself. But Stephen and Johnny didn’t know he was dead. They waited 5-7 minutes for the police to arrive. It was another 4 hours before Stephen could go home a hero.
You can hear how Stephen sees that God was in control over the situation, even though 27 people were killed and 20 more were injured and lived. There are several things that happened that day that proved it. From the local hospital having an emergency training drill which meant several doctors and nurses on hand, to a church member who is a police officer who had several trauma kits in his car.
This story is one that many of us heard and read about in the news. Now, you can listen to the whole story, the real story, as Stephen Willeford tells us exactly how things happened that day. And how it changed his life, regardless of him being a good guy with a gun.
“People ask me how could you do what you did. And I ask them “how could you not?”
“I”ll live with my decisions.”
“The police were 5-7 minutes behind me. My community didn’t have 5-7 minutes”
“If you can’t see God’s hand in all this, you’re willfully blind.”
Stephen Willeford Website
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