We've been told that the church shooting in White Settlement, Texas, was ended quickly by a good guy with a gun, but as The New York Times reports, church security and parishioners noticed something suspicious about the shooter, Keith Kinnunen, well before he pulled out his shotgun:
Though he had been to the church before, Mr. Kinnunen aroused suspicion among members of the security team on Sunday when he walked in wearing a trench coat and what looked like a fake beard. He tailed a family as they entered the church, which immediately brought attention his way.
“He walked across the parking lot to get into the building, and normally we don’t have a lot of people walk from down the road,” [John] Robertson, [a] church elder, said....
Mr. Kinnunen asked where the restroom was and then returned a few minutes later, [church security team leader Jack] Wilson said. “We were concerned,” he said. One of the church’s security cameras was soon trained directly on him, and [Richard] White, who was part of the security team, also stationed himself behind him. Mr. Wilson stood near a back wall several feet away.
“I could see his right hand at all times.” Mr. Wilson said. “I was concerned because I could not see his left hand.”
All this attention on him and he still managed to kill two people, including Richard White, before Jack Wilson was able to kill him.
Maybe the body count would have been the same if Kinnunen had been armed with a knife. I don't know. But his odds of killing two people would have been lower.
We're talking a lot about how Jack Wilson heroically ended this incident -- but why was Keith Kinnunen able to possess a shotgun in the first place? That happened because Red America doesn't expend any effort to deny guns to people with life histories like this:
Court records show that he was arrested in 2012 in Oklahoma, where he was accused of setting a fire in a cotton field by soaking tampons in lamp oil and lighting them. Mr. Kinnunen told a court-appointed psychologist after his arrest that he had tried to kill himself with a firearm at the age of about 19, but that he was no longer suicidal. But he attacked fellow jail inmates, according to the psychologist’s report, and went on a hunger strike, saying he thought he was being poisoned.
That same year, Cindy Glasgow-Voegle, his former wife, sought a protective order against him. In court documents, she said he had shown up with no money and no car, wanting to see their son. But the boy was terrified of his father, she said; he had a criminal record in several states, and was violent and “paranoid.”
Ms. Glasgow-Voegle said she had helped him get a job and a trailer, but he quit the job and landed in the county jail for assaulting a man. He told her he was “battling a demon.”
Why was Kinnunen's son afraid of him? Probably for a lot of reasons, but here's one:
An arrest warrant affidavit filed in December 2011 ... included a statement from his teenage son.... His son ... said his father liked to play "fire football," where he soaked a football in a flammable liquid, lit the ball on fire and then they'd toss it back and forth. The teen told police he thought it was unsafe but that he was "afraid he might get mad at me if I asked to stop."
In November 2011, two months before his ex-wife filed the protective order, Kinnunen was charged with aggravated assault and battery in Grady County, Oklahoma, after he repeatedly hit a man in the face, breaking his nose.
Locally, Kinnunen had a criminal record in Tarrant County including charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in 2009 and theft of property in 2013.
And in New Jersey:
Kinnunen's arrest in Linden three years earlier came after Linden Police responded to a report of a suspicious person on a bicycle on Lower Road near the city public works garage.
A resident reported a suspicious man was asking about photographing the oil tank field at the Phillips 66 refinery, police said at time.
Police found the man and identified him as Kinnunen, of River Oaks, Texas, near Memorial Park on Lower Road. He told police he was traveling from Texas but was homeless and took photos of interesting sites.
Linden Police found Kinnunen had a contempt of court warrant in Oklahoma for felony aggravated assault. While checking his property, police found the Mossberg .12 gauge shotgun and rounds wrapped in plastic. He was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon....
He pleaded down to criminal trespassing in July 2017 and spent 303 days in jail, according to court records.
At what point does this add up to a warning that society needs to prevent this person from ever getting his hands on a gun again? In Red America, it never does.
Posted with permission of No More Mr. Nice Blog