The pistol-packing pastor who gunned down a man allegedly on a carjacking rampage that left three people shot in Tumwater, Washington, on Father's Day, says he acted to "protect my family and others."
David George, a pastor at an Assembly of God Church in Oakville, Washington, and a paramedic for the town's fire department, broke his silence after being cleared of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of Tim Day, 44, who police said was on a one-man crime spree.
"I carry a firearm for the same reason I carry a first aid bag, hoping never to have to use them but always being prepared nonetheless," George, 47, said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
At times George was overcome with emotion as he spoke of the "tragic and shocking" event that occurred on Sunday outside a Walmart store in Tumwater.
"I acted on Sunday to protect my family and others from the gunman and his display of obvious deadly intent," George said. "This is in accordance with both my training as an emergency responder and calling as a pastor, husband, father, and grandfather."
He said he was shopping at the Walmart with his wife, daughter, and granddaughter around 5 p.m. on Sunday when he heard gunshots inside the store.
Tumwater Police Department spokeswoman Laura Wohl told ABC News that Day, who had already shot and wounded two people in a series of carjackings, entered the store and proceeded to the sporting goods section where he fired at a locked ammunition display case, removed some ammunition and exited the store.
George said that when he heard the gunshots he quickly rounded up his daughter and grandchild and got them out of the store.
"I did not see my wife and so I continued to look for her as people began to realize the situation and run out of the building," George said. "At no time did I draw my firearm in the building."
He said that while searching for his wife, the gunman walked past him "waving and pointing his gun" as he continued to walk out the exit.
Wohl said that once in the parking lot, Day allegedly accosted Rick Fievez and his wife, who works at the Walmart store, and ordered them at gunpoint to give him their car. He shot Rick Fievez twice when he did not comply, Wohl said.
George said he has a permit to carry a concealed weapon and has significant training in the use of firearms.
"As a volunteer firefighter, I have also received active shooter training. In addition, I am also a credentialed range safety officer. I train regularly to be proficient with the firearm I carry and to do so in a safe and responsible manner," George said.
George said he and another armed citizen followed the gunman out of the store. He said the gunman began moving in the "direction that I thought my family to be" after Day had shot Fievez.
"At this point, I left cover and moved to intercept the gunman," George said. "When the gunman began threatening another person for the use of their car, I moved in order to have a safe shot at the gunman. He entered the vehicle, which I considered an even bigger threat and fired to stop the shooter.
"After being hit, the gunman tried to exit the vehicle and fell to the ground. I moved to clear the gunman, yelling to him to drop the gun and show me his hands," George said. "I determined the gunman was incapacitated and unable to respond at this time."
He then heard Rick Fievez's wife yelling for help. He said he rushed to his car, retrieved his first aid bag and went to treat Rick Fievez, who police said was shot twice by Day.
"I responded as my duty and training instructed," said George, an emergency medical technician for the Oakville Fire Department.
Rick Fievez's son, Kyle Fievez, said his father was the most seriously injured of the three victims Day allegedly shot. Rick Fievez, 47, remains in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Kyle Fievez said he has spoken with George by phone and thanked him for saving his father's life.
"I would definitely say, 'he's a hero,'" Kyle Fievez told ABC News.