Updated at 9:35 p.m. ET
A gunman opened fire during a church service Sunday morning in White Settlement, Texas, killing two people before two church members returned fire and killed him, authorities said.
“Preliminary reports indicated that the man entered the church and fired a weapon,” White Settlement police Chief J.P. Bevering said at a press conference. “A couple of members of the church returned fire, striking the suspect, who died at the scene.”
“Tragically, the person shot by the suspect died at a local hospital, and a second parishioner has life-threatening injuries,” Bevering said.
The second victim later died, authorities said at a Sunday evening news conference.
Bevering praised the people of West Freeway Church of Christ for their response.
“The suspect is deceased and the threat has stopped, thanks to the heroic actions,” Bevering said.
Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn echoed that sentiment.
“Today, evil walked boldly among us,” Waybourn said. “Let me remind you, good people raised up and stopped it before it got worse.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott expressed condolences for the victims and to the families of those killed in “the evil act of violence” that occurred on Sunday.
“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,” Abbott said in a tweeted statement.
A motive for the shooting is still unclear.
Jeoff Williams, regional director for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the investigation is ongoing and that they will “turn over every rock” to get to the bottom of why this shooting happened.
“Unfortunately, this country has seen so many of these that we’ve actually gotten used to it to this point.” Williams said. “And it’s tragic and it’s just a terrible situation, especially during the holiday season.”
This is a developing story. Some facts reported by the media may later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from police officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene. We will update as the situation develops.