Stephen Willeford, the Texas man who engaged church shooter Devin P. Kelley, was an NRA certified instructor from 2002-2004.
The National Rifle Association confirmed to The Daily Caller on Monday that Willeford was an instructor for two years.
Willeford used an AR-15 on Sunday to confront Kelley at the Sutherland Springs church where he had killed 26 people.
Willeford says he shot Kelley, causing him to drop his rifle and try to escape in an SUV. Willeford and fellow good samaritan Johnnie Langendorff pursued him in Langendorff’s truck, with the chase reaching speeds of 95 MPH before Kelley finally veered off the road. Investigators say Kelley died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. (RELATED: Texan Who Engaged Shooter Shares His Story)
“I think my God, my Lord, protected me and gave me the skills to do what needed to be done, and I just wish I had gotten there faster,” Willeford said in an interview Monday.
Willeford found out about the shooting from his daughter and left his house with no shoes on in the hopes of getting to the church as quickly as possible.
Ken Leonard, Willeford’s cousin, said Willeford actually believed he had shot Kelley three times — once in the side and twice in the neck. Willeford was skillfully aiming around a body armor vest that Kelley wore during the shooting.
RELATED: THE CHASE THAT FOLLOWED