Beto O'Rourke, Governor Greg Abbott and Others React to Deadly Texas Church Shooting

Two parishioners were killed following a shooting Sunday morning at a Texas church, according to authorities--an incident that has reignited the passionate debate about gun control and gun rights.

The New York Times reported that a gunman opened fire inside the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, killing two people before the gunman was fatally shot by a member of the church's security team. About 250 people in the church at the time of the shooting.

The attack in White Settlement occurred just months after a law allowing Texas gun owners to bring their weapons into schools and places of worship came into effect.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement that he shared on Twitter:

"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 prevent further loss of life. Cecilia and I ask all Texans to join us in praying for the White Settlement community and for all those affected by this horrible tragedy."

Statement on shooting at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement: pic.twitter.com/Crrrvavvs6

— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) December 29, 2019
Twitter

The governor also thanked the church's security team for ending the attack:

Thanks to security at the church in White Settlement for swiftly ending the attack.

We’re working with local law enforcement & elected officials to ensure they have all resources needed to respond to this event.

Texans will unite as always. https://t.co/Gv9gVJiUao

— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) December 29, 2019

News of the shooting prompted reaction on social media, including the issue over guns. Former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke, who ran for the Senate and later the presidency before ending his campaign in November, wrote that he was "saddened" by the shooting and implied that it indicated the U.S. needs gun reform.

"Clearly what we are doing in Texas, what we are doing in this country, when it comes to guns is not working," O'Rourke wrote.

So saddened to hear about another church shooting in Texas, this one in White Settlement near Fort Worth. Clearly what we are doing in Texas, what we are doing in this country, when it comes to guns is not working. https://t.co/krwcpL1lih

— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) December 29, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio, wrote in his tweet: "We can take steps to reduce these horrific attacks right now—we just need our elected leaders to have the courage to act."

Terrible news out of White Settlement, Texas, where churchgoers have experienced another mass shooting.

We can take steps to reduce these horrific attacks right now—we just need our elected leaders to have the courage to act.https://t.co/uAv7EoJ4N0

— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) December 29, 2019

Andrew Young, another Democratic presidential candidate, offered his thoughts about the incident: "The shooting at a church near Fort Worth today is an awful story of lethal violence in a place of worship. Gun violence affects all of us. We must do more to make our country a place where we can all gather and pray in peace."

The shooting at a church near Fort Worth today is an awful story of lethal violence in a place of worship. Gun violence affects all of us. We must do more to make our country a place where we can all gather and pray in peace.

— Andrew Yang🧢🇺🇸 (@AndrewYang) December 29, 2019

"Here we go again," wrote Fred Guttenberg, an activist whose daughter, Jaime, was killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2017. "... Easy access to guns does NOT make us safer. Easy access to guns only ensures that those who are determined to kill will have the means to kill as many as possible. GUNS SIMPLY MAKE HATE LETHAL."

Here we go again. 3 shot, 2 killed and 1 critical. Easy access to guns does NOT make us safer. Easy access to guns only ensures that those who are determined to kill will have the means to kill as many as possible. GUNS SIMPLY MAKE HATE LETHAL.https://t.co/QnEGFcbPwO

— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) December 29, 2019
Twitter

Because the shooter was killed by armed security inside the church, some social media users wrote that the day was saved by a "good guy with a gun," including Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren, who commented: "What a horrible tragedy, thank God a good guy with a gun was able to take him down."

She also touted the Second Amendment and took aim at Democrats in another tweet:

The church shooter must’ve forgot he was in Texas. This incident proves once again the virtue of the Second Amendment. If Democrats like Beto had their way, those church-goers would have been sitting ducks and completely defenseless.

— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) December 29, 2019

"You won't see this anywhere on your newsfeed," wrote actress Mindy Robinson, "but a good guy with a gun in Texas shot and killed a church shooter and mitigated the loss of life from being much worse during a livestream communion service. God bless Texas."

You won’t see this anywhere on your newsfeed...but a good guy with a gun in Texas shot and killed a church shooter and mitigated the loss of life from being much worse during a livestream communion service.

God bless Texas. 🙏🏻🇺🇸https://t.co/58g0jYPxFT

— Mindy Robinson 🇺🇸 (@iheartmindy) December 29, 2019
Twitter

Former GOP Congressman Allen West tweeted: "Please keep this faith community and residents of this area in prayer as they cope with this evil in our midst. Good people with guns always triumph over evil ones."

Our hearts go out to the innocent victims of today's West Freeway Church of Christ shooting here in the DFW area.

Please keep this faith community and residents of this area in prayer as they cope with this evil in our midst.

Good people with guns always triumph over evil ones pic.twitter.com/hIDlFPFsHG

— Allen West (@AllenWest) December 30, 2019

And the National Rifle Association tweeted a response late Sunday, writing: "A gunman open-fired at a White Settlement, Texas church, and within 3 seconds, a good guy with a gun stopped him. This was possible due to critical changes to Texas law in 2017."

The White Settlement church shooting occurred in the wake of an attack Saturday evening in Monsey, New York in which five people were stabbed at the home of a Hasidic rabbi celebrating Hanukkah.

Updated 8:54 PM ET to reflect that two parishioners are now deceased, along with the inclusion of an additional tweet.

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