BELLEVUE, WA – For the third time, a legally-armed private citizen has intervened in a church shooting, once again underscoring the importance of the right to keep and bear arms, the Second Amendment Foundation said today.

Sunday’s tragic mass shooting might have been even worse, according to some officials, had not an armed “good Samaritan” fired at mass shooter Devin Patrick Kelley. It was that exchange of gunfire that caused the killer to flee Sutherland Springs with the armed citizen and another man in pursuit, eventually veering off the highway, where he apparently died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“What happened Sunday in Sutherland Springs once again demonstrates that armed, law-abiding Americans will step forward when the need arises to defend their neighbors and their communities,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “This is not the first time an armed citizen has engaged in a heroic act at a church.

“In Tennessee on Sept. 24,” he recalled, “a gunman opened fire at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, only to be confronted by Robert Engle, who physically confronted the shooter and, despite being injured, continued the fight until the gunman accidentally shot himself. Engle then retrieved his own gun from his car and held the suspect for police.

“Back in 2007,” Gottlieb added, “a woman named Jeanne Assam shot a man who had entered the New Life Church in Colorado Springs after killing two teens outside. That killer subsequently took his own life.

“We stand in agreement with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton who told both MSNBC and Fox News early Monday that Kelley had already violated laws against murder, so another gun law would not prevent this from happening,” Gottlieb concluded. “The courage of these individuals can never be over stated. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”