U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, announced Jan. 25 he would bring Stephen Willeford and his wife as guests to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. “I speak on behalf of the entire Sutherland Springs community when I say that we are grateful to have such an incredible citizen visit,” Cuellar told Texas media. “It is amazing that this man, who almost became a victim himself, managed to face the assailant and ultimately prevented further tragedy from unfolding.”
Willeford is the armed citizen who used an AR-15 to stop the mass shooting at a Texas church. He was alerted to gun shots up the street by his daughter while sitting in his Sutherland Springs, Texas, home. Grabbing his rifle, he confronted shooter Devin Patrick Kelley, who killed 26 parishioners and injured 20 more at the First Baptist Church in November.
The two exchanged gunfire. Then Willeford and Johnnie Langendorff chased the injured Kelley in a truck as the shooter sped away. The shooter was later found dead—with two gunshot wounds from Willeford and one self-inflicted one—after crashing into a ditch.