A Texas Democratic congressman has invited the man who confronted the gunman who opened fire on worshipers at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, last year to President Trump’s State of the Union address.
Rep. Henry Cuellar announced Thursday he will host Stephen Willeford at the event Tuesday. The congressman’s office said he will also pay for travel accommodations for Willeford and his wife.
“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 said. “It is amazing that this man, who almost became a victim himself, managed to face the assailant and ultimately prevented further tragedy from unfolding.”
Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, killed 26 parishioners and injured 20 others in the shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs in November.
After Kelley opened fire, Willeford grabbed his shotgun and began shooting at the gunman when he appeared outside of the church. He and another good Samaritan, Johnnie Langendorff, then chased Kelley in Langendorff’s truck when the shooter sped away.
Kelley was found dead in his vehicle with a gunshot wound to the head after he crashed into a ditch.
Cuellar extended his thanks Thursday to Langendorff, as well as other law enforcement and county officials, for their work in responding to the shooting.
“Although the bravery of Wilson County can never be fully rewarded, I am honored to have Mr. Willeford represent these individuals in Washington,” the Texas Democrat said.