Keith Thomas Kinnunen motive

Some Celebrate on Social Media After Texas Church Shooter Identified as White Man

Some users on social media appeared to welcome the news that the gunman who perpetrated a weekend church shooting in Texas was identified as a white male.

The victims of Sunday’s shooting, identified as Anton Wallace, 64, of Fort Worth and Richard White, 67, of River Oaks, were also members of the security force at West Freeway Church of Christ, the state’s attorney general said.

Jack Wilson, the head of the security detail, fired a single shot that took down the gunman, identified as Keith Thomas Kinnunen, 43, of River Oaks.

MORE: Texas Church Shooter Was a Convicted Felon — It Was Already Illegal for Him to Own a Gun

Wallace was serving communion at the church in the Fort Worth suburb of White Settlement and was approached twice by Kinnunen in the moments before the gunfire rang out.


“When he sat back down the second time, shortly after that, he stood up, turned, and produced a shotgun,” Wilson told NBC News.

Wilson and White began “drawing our weapons. Richard did get his gun out of the holster. He was, I think, able to get a shot off, but it ended up going into the wall. The shooter had turned and shot him and then shot Tony and then started to turn to go toward the front of the auditorium,” Wilson told NBC.

“I fired one round. The subject went down.”

Kinnunen was a convicted felon and, under federal law, could not legally own a gun.

He was not a regular at the church and immediately raised suspicion when he walked in with a wig and fake beard that he kept adjusting, Wilson said.

Commenters on social media floated the idea of Kinnunen being motivated by white supremacy.

“Its interesting that the killer in the River Oaks shooting made sure to target and murder the only Black person in the church, before he killed another white church member,” tweeted Tariq Nasheed, a self-described “race baiter” known for his incendiary takes on issues of race. “I suspect that Keith Thomas Kinnunen could be a white supremacist.”

“Where was he radicalized? No border wall or muslim ban would’ve kept him out,” tweeted Bishop Talbert Swan, a controversial pastor who frequently espouses progressive stances on political issues.

MORE: FLASHBACK: Biden Slams Texas for ‘Totally Irrational’ Law Letting People Carry Guns in Church

Swan used the hashtags “#VanillaISIS,” “#HezBubba” and “#TaliBobby” to comment on Kinnunen’s race in his tweet.

“The alleged suspect in the #TexasChurchShooting is the violent Suspected White Supremacist Gang Member, Keith Thomas Kinnunen, who killed a black nurse and church deacon,” tweeted Jay Barney, a proponent of the Foundational Black Americans movement and social justice advocate.

(Reuters contributed to this report.)

Cover image:

  • Keith Thomas Kinnunen, identified as a shooting suspect at a church in White Settlement, Texas, poses for an undated police booking photo released by the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office in Fort Worth, Texas December 30, 2019.: Tarrant County Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS.

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