Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Jan. 13 presented the state’s highest civilian honor to a 71-year-old man who stopped a gunman in a deadly shooting at a church in December.
On Monday, Abbott gave a Medal of Courage to Jack Wilson, who is the head of the volunteer security team at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, near Fort Worth, The Associated Press reported.
During the ceremony in Austin, Abbott called Wilson a hero, a title he has pushed back against in the weeks since the shooting.
Honored to present the Governor’s Medal of Courage to Jack Wilson today. Jack is not only a hero to West Freeway Church of Christ—he is a hero to the entire state of Texas.
— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) January 13, 2020
“I feel more as a protector than I do a hero,” Wilson said with the medal around his neck, CBS Austin reported. “I feel very honored that God allowed me to have that capability to do what needed to be done that particular time.”
Wilson fired a single round at Keith Thomas Kinnunen, killing the 43-year-old after he opened fire with a shotgun in the church’s sanctuary on Dec. 29, 2019. Two parishioners were killed in the attack. Wilson’s shot likely prevented further loss of life.
“I don’t feel like I killed an individual, I killed evil,” Wilson explained. “And that’s how I’m approaching it. That’s how I’m processing.”
Throughout the event, Abbott praised both Wilson’s quick action and a law state lawmakers passed last session that enabled him to be armed, according to CBS Austin.