According to The Washington Post, George’s Father’s Day sermon was titled “The Value of MENtoring” and encouraged his congregation to take action against evil.
“Lord,” his final prayer said, “don’t let us be content as men to just let life go by, to see the world around us burn. God, instead, help us to get involved.”
After church let out, George, his wife, daughter, and granddaughter went to the Tumwater Walmart and heard gunshots from the back of the store.
The suspect had already stolen one car earlier in the day and, after firing a few rounds in Walmart, attempted to steal a car in the parking lot.
When the car’s driver refused, he shot him and then attempted to steal a different car, which is when George moved to have a “safe shot” at the man, who died from his gunshot wounds.
“I carry a firearm for the same reason I carry a first aid bag, hoping never having to use them but being prepared nonetheless,” he said in a statement.
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The pastor added, “I acted on Sunday to protect my family and others from the gunman and his display of obvious deadly intent.”
He also explained in the statement that he is fully qualified to carry a firearm, including:
- Being a concealed weapon carrier and permit holder with “significant training” in using a firearm
- Receiving active shooter training as a volunteer firefighter
- Being a credentialed Range Safety Officer
While George’s heroic actions have been praised and he has been cleared of any legal wrongdoing, he said in his statement that he largely wanted to remain out of the public’s eye.
Among other reasons, he delayed coming forward out of consideration for the lives of everyone impacted by the event, including those close to the gunman.
“My family, my congregation and I are praying for the gunshot victim’s full recovery and for all those that are suffering as a result of Sunday night’s tragic events, including the shooter’s family,” he said.
Brian Adams, who reportedly aided the shooting victim, and Megan Chadwick, who was at the store, both agreed that George’s actions earned him the label of “hero.”
“I thanked him for saving my life,” witness Robert Berwick said.
According to the Seattle Times, the suspect was identified as Tim O. Day, who has a criminal history of violating a domestic violence protection order, felony assault, and making death threats.