KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Sunday, a man shot and killed two people during a church service in White Settlement, Texas, before a member of the church’s security team shot and killed the suspect, officials say.
Police Chief J.P. Bevering said the shooter entered West Freeway Church of Christ and sat down in the sanctuary, then stood, pulled out a shotgun and shot two parishioners at the start of communion.
One of those victims was 64-year-old Anton “Tony” Wallace, the brother of former FOX4 sports anchor Al Wallace.
Al said his family is now in shock and grieving after losing a man he described as a “the kindest man I have ever known.” He posted a tribute to his brother on Facebook on Monday.
“If I could sum up Tony with one word, it would be ‘kindness.’ He was the kindest man I have ever known, with not a mean bone in his body,” Al wrote. “And he was like that, even as a kid.
“Born just two years apart, we grew up as best friends. As children, we did everything together. We played rocks, we had those plastic army men, we played baseball and football. Growing up in a family with 8 children in the 50’s and 60’s, for years, we even shared a bed together. Quite often, the back of the station wagon was our playground.”
The Wallace family is still trying to come to terms with the tragic loss.
“I’m just trying to be strong for everybody,” said Tony’s grandson, Chris Lester.
It’s an unfair job for a seventh-grader, to be strong for his family after the senseless murder of his best friend and grandfather.
“He taught me everything, so I’m gonna miss him being here,” Chris said.
Chris’ mom is one of Tony’s daughters. She said her dad was a member of West Freeway Church of Christ and went to church every Sunday.
“He is very selfless, Christian, humble, smart, funny, creative, amazing man,” Sarah Wallace said. “Like I tell people, he’s perfect. He’s my everything.”
She said Tony was selfless in his devotion to his position as a Deacon at West Freeway Church of Christ and in his career as a nurse. Tony spent his life taking care of others.
“My uncle was always there for me,” niece Lindsey Wallace said. “He was my protector. When my dad was in and out of prison when I was growing up, he was there. Even to this day, he was there.”
Family was so important to Tony, his family said. Growing up he was one of eight brothers and sisters, including Al.
“I want the world to know my brother Tony was a good man and a kind man,” Al wrote on Facebook. “Tony was a great father, husband, grandfather, and a terrific brother. My parents were proud of all the kids, and they were certainly proud of the man Tony grew up to be. We all, already, miss him very, very much.”
Tony was one of two killed before Jack Wilson, a member of the church’s security team, killed the gunman Sunday.
“I don’t consider myself a hero at all,” he said.
Wilson, a former law enforcement officer, said he was suspicious of the shooter from the moment he walked in the church.
“The fact that he was wearing a wig and a fake beard and a toboggan on his head and a long coat. That is was what really enlightened us and set us to watching him closer,” Wilson said.
When the man began shooting, Wilson stopped what could have been mass carnage.
Tony’s daughter said they consider Wilson a hero and wish the incident would have turned out differently.
“He acted so quick like, I just kind a wish that the shooter missed and we got him first you know?” Sarah said.
It was family on his mind the last time Al and Tony communicated.
Tony sent a text saying, “My two grandsons have certainly been a source of joy for me. In some ways, I have been a surrogate father to them. I’ve taught them how to play baseball, how to drive, and have done summer camp with them for several years, and it certainly has brought us closer together.”
And now, his grandson Chris, who Tony was so proud of, has one simple request: “I just wish he was here right now.”