A man who wrestled a gun away from an alleged would-be church shooter was shot by police when they arrived at the scene. The unfortunate incident took place on the morning of February 14, just hours before the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
According to witnesses, the actual shooter entered the Faith City Mission chapel in Amarillo, Texas, and threatened to hold everyone there hostage. While some people, including a security guard, managed to flee the scene, reformed ex-con Tony Garces saw an opportunity and decided to step up. The attacker had ordered a woman from the church to secure Garces with zip ties, but she purposely left one of them loose. Along with some other churchgoers, Garces confronted the attacker, and managed to take the gun away from him after a struggle.
Soon after that, the cops arrived to the scene of what they had been told was an armed hostage situation and saw a man holding a gun. But that man was Garces, not the recently-disarmed culprit.
“I got the gun,” Garces told the local ABC 7 affiliate in Amarillo. “I thought it was over. but they the cops shot me. The good guys shot me.”
According to Garces’s own account to ABC 7: “I said ‘hey, hey I got the gun. 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 was hit by two bullets: one hitting him in the back, and the other above his collar bone. One of those bullets punctured one of his lungs. NBC reports that the department is investigating the incident.
Garces and his lawyer are asking the city to pay his medical expenses, and to give police officers more training in the use of deadly force. According to NBC News, as of February 27 Garces’s lawyer said that city authorities have not yet reached out to him.