'Hero' describes shoot-out and car chase of Texas church shooter

A man hailed as a hero for his pursuit of the gunman responsible for the Texas church shooting has described the car chase that ended with the shooter crashing his vehicle.

Johnnie Langendorff was driving near the Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church - the scene of the mass shooting that left 26 people dead and another 20 wounded - on Sunday when he saw two men shooting at each other.

The two men involved in the exchange of gunfire were the church shooter, who has been identified as Devin Kelley, and local resident Stephen Willeford.

Mr Langendorff said Mr Willeford asked him for help after the church shooter fled.

"I pulled up to the intersection where the shooting happened," Mr Langendorff told local television station KSAT. "I saw two men exchanging gunfire, the other being the citizen of the community. The shooter of the church had taken off, fled in his vehicle, the other gentleman came and said we need to pursue him."

At least 26 people, aged five to 72-years-old, were killed in the shooting at the church in the small Texan town in what has been described as the state's worst mass shooting in modern history.

Kelley, 26, targeted a church where his former in-laws worshipped before he fatally shooting himself during the car chase, police revealed on Tuesday.

Kelley, an ex-serviceman, was able to acquire an assault rifle despite being court-martialled during his time in the United States Air Force for domestic violence, according to ABC News.

US President Donald Trump labelled the Texas church shooting as an "act of evil": "We cannot put into words the pain and grief we all feel."

Mr Langendorff's girlfriend Summer Caddel gave her version of the car chase in a Facebook post, describing how her partner and Mr Willeford had 'jumped in my boyfriend's truck and they chased that sick bastard down in pursuit until the cops could catch up."

Speaking with a toothpick in his mouth, Mr Langendorff said he did not know Mr Willeford, the man who exchanged gunfire with the church shooter: "He was just a member of the community and he came to my vehicle in distress with his weapon.

"He explained very quickly what happened. He got into the truck and I knew that it was time to go."

Mr Langendorff said the church shooter "got a little bit of a jump on us" as they pursued him at a speed of about 95 miles per hour (150km/hr), while on the phone to police dispatch.

"We were doing about 95 down [Route] 539, going around traffic and everything. Eventually he came to a kind of slow down and after that we got to within a few feet of him and he got off the road."

Mr Langendorff said the gunman's vehicle left the road and went into a ditch.

"It's like he just gave up," Mr Langendorff said. "He went off in the ditch, hit a hay bale from what I could see. And then he just never moved after that. He didn't get out. He didn't try anything."

Mr Langendorff said Mr Willeford trained his rifle on the gunman's vehicle after it ran off the road.

"He hit the ditch. The gentleman that was with me got out, rested his rifle on my hood and kept it aimed at him telling him to 'get out, get out'," Mr Langendorff said.

"There was no movement. There was none of that. The guy didn't put up a fight or anything."

The two men remained at the site of the crash until police showed up.

Mr Langendorff said he had no hesitation in embarking on the car chase.

"I mean, he just hurt so many people and he just affected so many people's lives. Why wouldn't you wanna take him down?"

This story 'Hero' describes shoot-out and car chase of Texas church shooter first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.