Jack Wilson, who heroically stopped a gunman on a killing spree at a White Settlement church with a single shot last December, was cleared of any charges by the Tarrant County grand jury this week.
Tim Rodgers, chief of the Law Enforcement Incident Team of the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, agreed with the grand jury’s decision.
“If an individual looks and sees other individuals at risk of being killed, they are justified in stepping in and using deadly force. Mr. Wilson shot his firearm to take out the threat that was endangering other lives. He did it responsibly, and he was absolutely justified in doing that under Texas law,” Rodgers said in a media statement.
Rodgers is referring to Texas Penal Code Section 9.33 which outlines the justification for use of deadly force in defense of another person.
Wilson, who is head of the security team at West Freeway Church of Christ, is a current Texas Commission on Law Enforcement and license to carry instructor and a candidate for county commissioner in Hood County’s third precinct.
“I’m thankful to GOD that I have been blessed with the ability and desire to serve him in the role of head of security at the church,” Wilson wrote in a Facebook post at the time. “I am very sad in the loss of two dear friends and brothers in CHRIST, but evil does exist in this world and I and other members are not going to allow evil to succeed.”
Governor Greg Abbott awarded Wilson the Governor’s Medal of Courage for his heroic actions.
“We thank God for putting Jack Wilson in that church that day to bring the attack to an end and to prevent the loss of further life,” said Gov. Greg Abbott at the ceremony. “Only God knows who is alive today because of Jack Wilson. What we do know is that so many lives were saved because of Jack Wilson’s quick action, his calmness under pressure, and above all else, his courage and his willingness to risk his own life to save the lives of others.”
When a grand jury returns a “no bill,” it means there was not enough evidence to indict you on alleged crimes, criminal defense attorney Mamie Johnson explained. A “no bill” result is uncommon, Johnson said, as most cases taken to the grand jury are indicted.
Johnson explained that when a person is killed, and it is a possible felony offense, the district attorney’s office will typically take the case before the grand jury as part of their due diligence as attorneys for the state.
The church security team of which Wilson is head is allowed under Section 1702.333 of the Texas Occupations Code passed in 2017.
In 2019, the Texas Legislature also made clear that a license holder may carry a handgun into a place of worship.
Donna Cornell, a pistol and license-to-carry instructor and a chapter leader of The Well Armed Woman, advises her students to be prepared with a legal defense plan ahead of time should they be involved in a deadly force encounter.
“I try to get across that they don’t want to be enduring the physical, emotional, and spiritual trauma of being involved in an encounter and also have the financial burden of defending themselves,” she explained.
She also points out that conduct justified as defense of self or others under criminal law may still have civil remedies available as seen in Texas Penal Code Section 9.06.
Daniel Friend contributed to this report.
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Kim Roberts is a reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.