The effects of the Sutherland Springs tragedy are felt by everyone in the community around the First Baptist Church, including seasoned law enforcement.
The Justice of the Peace in Guadalupe County, a neighbor to Wilson County where the shooting happened, had to identify the shooter.
“When I got there, it’s ‘I have a job to do,’” said Judge Todd Friesenhahn, a Justice of the Peace in Precinct Four.
Judge Friesenhahn spent 19 years in law enforcement before he became a judge.
“I’ve done numerous inquests,” he said. “This one here, it did hit close to home. You hear about the other mass shootings around the country. But when it’s your back yard, it gets kind of surreal.”
But the reality of what his job meant on Sunday was setting in. He’s thankful he didn’t go to the church. He went to the killer’s car crash.
“The numbers just kept growing and growing as I was driving,” he said. “My phone was going off. It went up more and more. Back to your thoughts of, ‘Wow, is this really happening?’”
Many in this small community are still asking that today, a question that will never be answered.
“It’s just a senseless act,” Judge Friesenhahn said. “Evil exists in the world.”
Judge Friesenhahn said that he didn’t know the shooter. He told KENS5 that a part of him wishes he did because maybe he could’ve helped. He also said that he called his mom on the way back from the scene to tell her he loved her and hugged his wife Shanan when he got home.