When a man with a handgun walked into a church service at the Faith City Mission in Amarillo, Texas, most of the crowd of about 100 started to run.
But Tony Garces, an ex-con, took his shirt off and confronted the gunman, according to a news release from Amarillo police.
After Garces wrestled the gun away from 35-year-old Joshua Len Jones, and helped prevent what could have been another mass shooting on the same day as the school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., at least one Amarillo police officer shot Garces. He was hit twice, in the chest and neck, but he told KVII he’d do it again “in a heartbeat.”
“I got the gun,” Garces told the station. “I thought it was over. But the cops, they shot me. The good guys shot me.”
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The Amarillo Globe-News reported that a security guard at the mission, where Garces was attending a drug rehabilitation program, noticed Jones, who was also a regular attendee at services there, leave the morning service and followed him. When Jones returned with a gun, the security guard told the crowd to evacuate, police say.
Garces didn’t heed that warning.
While security personnel brought Jones to the floor, Garces took the gun out of his hand. Then police arrived after responding to a call reporting a man holding dozens of people hostage in the chapel of the mission, just before 9 a.m. on Feb. 14.
“I said: ‘Hey, hey, I got the gun. I took the gun away from him,’” Garces told KVII. “[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.”
Jones faces six counts of aggravated kidnapping and was booked into the Potter County Detention Center after police took him into custody, according to jail records. His bail is set at $1.2 million.