Keith Thomas Kinnunen, 43, entered West Freeway Church of Christ on Sunday and opened fire, killing two people in seconds before head of security Jack Wilson produced his own firearms and killed the gunman. Anton Wallace, 64, and Richard White, 67, were the two slain in the opening salvo of gunfire.
According to Kinnunen’s sister, the man was homeless at the time of the shooting and had always remained “very close to the Lord.” Amy Kinnunen told reporters that was likely why her brother chose the church as the location of his deadly attack.
Texas Church Gunman was Deeply Religious
“Any problem that you had, he could give you a Bible scripture. He was very close to the Lord. I believe that is why he chose the church,” Amy Kinnunen told reporters.
His first ex-wife, Cindy Glasgow-Voegel, described Kinnunen in a statement as being “very unwell.”
She stated that he “is a violent, paranoid person with a long line of assault and batteries with and without firearms. He is a religious fanatic, says he’s battling a demon.”
Kinnunen’s second wife stated that she didn’t realize how unwell her ex-husband was. Angela Holloway told reporters, “We knew he was crazy, but not like this. I don’t wish this on anybody. I feel sorry for the victims. I really do.”
She continued, stating that she had last spoken to him three years ago. “The last time he spoke to us he just wasn’t in his right mind. I didn’t know how to go about talking to him about it.”
A Troubled Past
Kinnunen was likely a deeply troubled man, according to the accounts of people close to him.
Many have described him as “religiously zealous,” and some have even mentioned he believed he was battling some kind of inner demon. Kinnunen had numerous priors for offenses ranging from petty theft to felony aggravated assault.
Before attacking the church, Kinnunen had apparently stopped in to ask for food before. The church’s senior minister, Britt Farmer, stated that he had met Kinnunen before, offering him food and visiting with him.
“I had seen him. I had visited with him. I had given him food. I had offered him food at other occasions that he had been to our building,” he told reporters.
Many commentators have noted that this event will likely continue to stoke conversation around proposed gun control laws as the 2020 election season heats up.