‘He needed to be stopped,’ says local hero who pursued Texas gunman

Stephen Willeford, right, hugs Johnnie Langendorff during a vigil for the victims of the First Baptist Church shooting Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Willeford shot suspect Devin Patrick Kelley and Langendorff drove the truck while they chased Kelley. Kelley opened fire inside the church in the small South Texas community on Sunday, killing more than two dozen and injuring others. (AP/David J. Phillip)
Updated 07 November 2017

‘He needed to be stopped,’ says local hero who pursued Texas gunman

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas: A Texas man who saw a local exchanging gunfire with the assailant who had just massacred 26 people at a small town church said he had no hesitation in pursuing the gunman because he needed to be stopped.
“That’s it. I mean that’s the bottom line, he needed to be stopped,” Johnnie Langendorff told Reuters TV. “He was stopped and he’s not going to hurt anyone else ever again.”
Langendorff was driving his pickup truck in Sutherland Springs on Sunday when he saw a local man, Stephen Willeford, trading rifle fire with a black-clad stranger who had just emerged from the First Baptist Church.
“He jumped in my truck and said ‘He just shot up the church, we got to get him’ and I said ‘OK, let’s go,’” Langendorff said of his rapid words with Willeford.
“And so from there we blew through this intersection and he started going about 90-95 (miles per hour) (145-153 km per hour) keeping up with this guy,” Langendorff said.
At the time, neither of them knew they were chasing Devin Kelley, 26, an Air Force veteran who police say put on tactical gear, a ballistic vest and skull-like mask to carry out the most deadly mass shooting in the modern history of Texas.
The pursuit lasted about 10-12 minutes, Langendorff said. Then Kelley lost control and crashed into a ditch. They stopped too and Willeford trained his rifle on the disabled vehicle, Langendorff added, but the gunman never emerged.
Willeford’s cousin Ken Leonard told CNN that Willeford shot Kelley where there was a gap in his vest.
“Stephen is the best shot that I know,” Leonard told CNN. “He without armor and barefooted ran into the fire and put his own life at risk, took return fire and fired accurately three times. That’s an amazing accomplishment, especially for a man who has, who was never in the military.”
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Freeman Martin, a regional director for the Texas Department of Public Safety, described Willeford as a good Samaritan and a “Texas hero.”
Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt also hailed Willeford for grabbing his gun and responding to the danger.
“He didn’t have to come out,” Tackitt told Reuters. “He could have stayed at his house.”


Pakistan mulls taking Kashmir dispute to ICJ

Updated 6 min 51 sec ago

Pakistan mulls taking Kashmir dispute to ICJ

  • Senate committee chairman says several options being considered

KARACHI: Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman on Wednesday said Islamabad is considering taking its dispute with India over Kashmir to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). 

“No final decision has been taken,” said Dr. Muhammad Faisal. “The media will be apprised once a decision is taken in this regard.”

Sajid Mir, chairman of the Senate committee on Kashmir, told Arab News that Pakistan is considering the ICJ as one of several options.

“Going to the ICJ is one of them, but it’s still under deliberation and no final decision has been taken,” Mir said, adding that Faisal had briefed senators about the situation in Indian-administered Kashmir.

“Around a million people are under house arrest in Kashmir, where the curfew has entered its 16th day,” Mir said.

“There are reports that around 4,000 Kashmiri people have been detained by occupation forces due to fear of a strong reaction,” he said, adding that Pakistan will “raise the issue at the (UN) Human Rights Council.”

FASTFACT

The decision to revoke Kashmir’s special status means the revocation of a bar on property purchases by people from outside the state, and government jobs and some college spots in Kashmir will no longer be reserved for its residents.

Political leaders in Kashmir had warned that repealing Article 370 of India’s constitution, and thereby changing the state’s special status, could trigger major unrest.

Indian authorities immediately launched a clampdown in Kashmir by suspending telephone and internet services and putting some leaders under house arrest.

The decision to revoke Kashmir’s special status means the revocation of a bar on property purchases by people from outside the state, and government jobs and some college spots in Kashmir will no longer be reserved for its residents.

The Muslim-majority Himalayan region has been at the heart of more than 70 years of animosity, since the partition of the British colony of India into the separate countries of Muslim-majority Pakistan and Hindu-majority India. Kashmir is divided between India, Pakistan and China.

Any decision by the ICJ would be an advisory opinion only. “Although an advisory opinion will not be binding, it will support Pakistan’s position that Kashmir is an international issue, and is likely to put pressure on India to act in accordance with the previous resolutions of the UN Security Council,” said international law expert and barrister Taimur Malik.