The two church members killed Sunday in the sanctuary of West Freeway Church of Christ were not just bystanders in a violent attack. Friends and family say Anton Wallace and Richard White were men dedicated to their church community and deeply rooted in their faith.
Remembering Anton "Tony" Wallace
Anton "Tony" Wallace was 64. His brother, Al Wallace, said he was the type of guy who wanted everyone to be happy. When they were kids, Tony did something special for their 9-year-old sister Jada.
“She wanted a bike; she didn’t get it,” he said. “And Tony earned enough money in the first six months that year to go out and buy her that bike out of his pocket.”
Al says he wasn't surprised his brother studied to become a nurse — he was a nurse manager at THR Harris Methodist Hemodialysis Unit in Fort Worth. Al said he always wanted to help people.
As a kid, Tony delivered newspapers and mowed lawns. And in the early 70s, he had a business making and selling custom tie-dyed t-shirts. He’d sell to friends and classmates.
The brothers grew up in a military family of eight kids – four boys, four girls. Their father was Sergeant First Class in the U.S. Army. He served in Korea and Vietnam and they lived around the world from Fort Bliss, Texas to Darmstadt, Germany to Mineral Wells.
“We just all not only had to get along within the family unit, but we had to get along with different environments from time to time while we were growing up, and I think that formed a foundation of what Tony was,” Al said.
Al settled in Kansas City, where he was a television sports anchor for three decades. Tony settled in Texas. He was married with two daughters. His brother said there were only a few places where you’d find him.
“Tony was either at home, at work, at church or at the gym, and if he wasn’t at one of those four places, he was with spending time with his grandkids," Al said. "He liked spending time with those boys, his grandsons.”
Al last heard from his brother a week ago. They were texting about how they both had loving wives and both had two daughters. Tony told him he enjoyed being a grandfather, teaching his two grandsons how to drive and play baseball.
Al said his brother was a peacemaker.
“I strongly believe that Tony is resting in peace," he said. "He did not like conflict. In fact, I would go so far as to say that he tried to stay away from conflict.”
Which makes what happened in the Fort Worth suburb of White Settlement all the more difficult to understand and accept.
“He was just a simple man who wanted to love his family and give," he said. "He died giving. He was at church with a communion tray in his hand and his life was taken senselessly and that’s how I will remember my brother.”
Remembering Richard White
Richard White, 67, was a member of the church's security team. He was close friends with the church's pastor, Britt Farmer.
"Preachers don't have many best friends," Farmer said at a candlelight vigil Monday night. "If you're not a preacher, you don't understand that. But he was my best friend. And he died saving lives."
A statement from White's family said, "Rich constantly put others first and was always willing to help with a smile on his face."
In an earlier Facebook post, White's daughter-in-law, Misty York White, shared that the family was reeling from the death of a "true hero."
"You have always been a hero to us, but the whole world is seeing you as a hero now," she said.
Funeral services for White were held Thursday at Western Hills Church of Christ in Fort Worth. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott attended and spoke at the service, accordking to NBC affiliate KXAS-TV.
Services for Wallace will be held Saturday Jan. 11 at a church in Fort Worth. Wallace's family says Gov. Abbott has asked to attend his service as well.
KERA News's Christopher Connelly and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Updated Jan 2 at 3:55 p.m.