Man Disarms Would-Be Church Shooter, but Gets Shot by Police

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
March 2, 2018US News
Man Disarms Would-Be Church Shooter, but Gets Shot by Police
File image of police tape. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A man who disarmed a would-be church shooter in Texas was shot twice by police officers who responded to a 911 call.

On Feb. 14, the same day a shooting at a Florida school left 17 dead, police officers were called to Faith City Mission in Amarillo over a gunman entering during morning church service.

Police said the initial call came in just before 9 a.m., and said an armed suspect was holding around 100 people hostage.

But before officers arrived, a group of people surprised the gunman and wrestled him to the ground.

Tony Garces, a student at the mission, snatched the handgun away.

“I took the gun away from a man who attempted to take others in the church hostage,” Garces told Fox News. “He already fired off one shot and I wasn’t going to let him fire again.”

But officers arriving thought Garces was the gunman, and shot him twice.

“I said ‘hey, hey I got the gun,’” said Garces, reported ABC7. “’I took the gun away from him.’ … They (the police) said throw it down. I wasn’t going to throw it down because it could have fired. It had bullets in it, you know. I didn’t want anyone else getting hurt. … Then pop, pop they shot me. … I went down, then a puddle of blood. … I thought I was a goner.”

Garces said he recently served four years in prison but was at the mission to turn his life around by participating in a drug rehab mission.

He said what he did proves he’s changed.

“If it would have been the old me, I wouldn’t have done what I did,” he said. “It would have been completely different.”

Garces was rushed to the hospital after being shot while the actual gunman, Joshua Len Jones, was arrested and charged with six counts of aggravated kidnapping.

Garces faces a long-term recovery and a possible legal battle with the city over his medical costs.

Garces said he also wants the police department to educate officers on the use of deadly force.

“The police didn’t do a good job,” Garces said. “I told them I took the gun away from the man, I was putting the gun down. I was doing what they told me to do and I still got shot…they need better training.”


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