Imagine being in church, a sanctuary of all places, only to see your father gunned down by a stranger for no apparent reason at all.
“You don’t think it’s going to hit home, and the fact that it hit our home and someone that supports us and loves us and is our dad [is gone], that’s what hurts the most,” Tiffany Wallace said.
Just like that, Wallace lost her father, Anton “Tony” Wallace, Sunday morning just feet from her and in their house of worship, West Freeway Church of Christ in the Ft. Worth, Texas area.
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“It just happened so fast,” she said.
Wallace, 64, was a husband, father, grandfather and a registered nurse. He was also a deacon and lifelong member of West Freeway Church of Christ.
Wallace told NBC DFW that her dad had just given out communion in the back of the church when she noticed a man she’d never seen before approach him.
“The guy just stood up from the pew, turned toward my dad and I guess he shot at the security guard,” she said.
Through the shots and chaos that ensued, she realized her dad had been hit.
“I ran toward my dad and the last thing I remember is him asking for oxygen, and I was just holding him, telling him I loved him and that he was going to make it,” Wallace said.
He was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to his injury.
“You just wonder why. How can someone so evil — the Devil — step into the church and do this?” she said.
With few answers, the family can only remember the man who was steadfast in his faith and family.
“He was amazing. He was a godly person, and even when we talked about going to heaven he always said, ‘I’m always prepared,’” she said. “But you never thought this would happen.”
“I forgive him [the gunman], and that’s the hardest thing to say,” she said.
Wallace has expressed gratitude for the armed church member who also serves as a security guard for the parish for bringing down the gunman.
“He is a hero to me,” she said. “I’m just glad everybody’s OK. I know my dad is up there with his sister, his parents, in a wonderful place. Not in pain anymore … He’s just in peace now. I know he’s in good hands.”
Wallace also wanted to thank a nurse who was present and ran to help the injured and the entire congregation for their support and prayers.
PHOTO: Wallace Family