A Texas woman’s willingness to forgive the man who fatally shot her father during church service early Sunday has some folks flabbergasted.
Tiffany Wallace is one of two daughters of deacon Anton “Tony” Wallace, who was one of two worshipers killed over the weekend when a gunman opened fire at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, a suburb of Fort Worth. Video from the incident showed suspect Keith Thomas Kinnunen pull a weapon from under his clothing before firing inside the sanctuary.
“It just happened so fast and it was so crazy,” Wallace recalled of the incident. “I was like, ‘Not my dad, not my dad.'”
The 32-year-old said her father, a deacon and life-long member of the church, had just finished serving communion when he was shot by the gunman. Despite his “evil” act, however, Wallace said she has forgiven Kinnunen.
“I forgive him, and it’s the hardest thing to say, because it’s like, somebody killed your dad, but I forgive him,” she told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth. “I will never forgive what he did, but I forgive him.”
Wallace’s ability to absolve the man who cut short the life of her father threw many critics for a loop, sparking a fierce debate over what they called the Black community’s quickness to forgive.
“We’ve got to stop forgiving our oppressors,” one Twitter user wrote. “And we must demand the media ask white people if they forgive folks that kill their relatives. It’s a farce.”
“Black people are too kind like that,” another chimed in. “Always helping out the ones that don’t support us back. Thinking we can change the game from within. Only finding ourselves pouring one out in the end.
25 yrs since OJ trial
Wypipo haven’t forgiven acquittal
19 yrs since the 9/11 attacks
Wypipo haven’t forgiven terrorists
12 yrs since Michael Vick trial
Wypipo haven’t forgiven dog fighting
48 hrs after a Black man is murdered by a white supremacist…https://t.co/hnQByB0WL3
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) January 2, 2020
A fellow user agreed, and pointed out a what they deemed a double standard.
“White America NEVER forgives anyone black regardless of guilt or innocence (the POTUS and the Central Park Five is one example),” they wrote. “Black Americans are FAR too forgiving.”
One critic said Wallace’s words were just the latest example of the “blind forgiveness that Black people offer to murderers who are not the slightest bit remorseful.”
Kinnunen, who had a lengthy criminal history that included charges of assault, arson and theft, killed Tony Wallace and 67-year-old security volunteer Richard White before being shot dead by the church’s head of security. Police are still investigating a motive for the attack.
“How could someone so evil, the devil, step in the church and do this,” Tiffany Wallace asked.
Still, she carries sweet memories of her dear dad, remembering him as a “godly” person.
“Even when talking about heaven, he said he was always prepared, but I never thought this would happen,” she said. “You think dad would get old and sick but never get murdered. You don’t think it will hit home.”