WHITE SETTLEMENT, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — As parishioners inside the West Freeway Church of Christ feared for their lives when an armed gunman opened fire Sunday morning, one mother didn’t think about anything except protecting her young daughter.
Being so close to the suspect who killed two people, Isabel Arreola just keeps thinking how lucky she is to able to share her story tonight…Something that may not have been possible had church security not stepped in.
From the moment the suspect walked into the White Settlement church, Arreola was watching him closely. Keeping her young daughter close.
“I see him sit in the pew behind us,” she recalled. “You know, something was telling me something’s not right.”
Arreola told CBS 11 that she pointed out the man’s appearance to her husband.
“I told him I don’t feel comfortable. I feel he’s like dressed in like a beard and that’s a wig… it looks so fake… I just kind of kept looking back there,” she said.
And when communion came to a close, she noticed the man walk up to a server, say something, then sit back down. Then moments later, he approached the server again.
“I saw him pull the gun out and I was just panicked and then we heard it go off and we’re just screaming, you know trying to get under the pews,” Arreola said.
As some church members grabbed their guns, a security guard shot and killed the suspect.
“If it wasn’t for him… he probably could have killed more,” she said. “As soon as he hit the ground I told Pablo [Arreola’s husband], ‘Let’s go. This is our opportunity to go.'”
Arreola’s family was able to get away — later learning two church members were killed. Now, she’s left wondering why.
“What triggered him to come and do this? I just think about… It could have been us. It just really breaks my heart to know people are gone,” she said.
Tonight, church members told CBS 11 the security team here is relatively new — put in place about a year ago — and given other church shootings, they wanted to be prepared for the worst.