700 rounds in 11 minutes: Sutherland Springs survivor says he's amazed he's alive

SAN ANTONIO – Authorities estimate 700 rounds were fired in 11 minutes during the Sutherland Springs shooting, and somehow David Colbath lived through it.

Colbath was shot eight times in a pew at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, but through his story of mayhem and miracles, Colbath says he's not a victim, he's a survivor.

"I thought it was firecrackers at first, and when those bullet holes started coming through the door, it was obvious it wasn't," Colbath said. "I stood up and I was hollering for people to get down on the floor, get on the floor, and one caught me in the forearm and actually threw me down on the floor. As I laid there, what was going through my mind is, 'it doesn't seem to stop, it just keeps going on and on.'"


Colbath said he remembers hearing the gunman grunt as he walked through the rows of pews. Church members became silent, because the consequence of noise could have meant life or death.

"If he heard noise he went straight to it," Colbath said.

Colbath said he's amazed he's alive -- he calls it a "God thing."

Colbath, already shot in his arm and lower body several times, remembers the moment the gunman was about to deliver one more.


"He'd walked up to me as a single shot to put me out, and I don't believe God was going to let that happen," Colbath said. "That shot there was shot directly in my back and ricocheted off a rib behind my heart and is lodged in my side now."

Colbath passed out as the gunman was chased away by a neighbor and hero, Stephen Willeford.

So, at 56, Colbath, a mechanic and construction contractor, is starting over -- the scars, a constant reminder of where he's been. 

"God had nothing to do with this," Colbath said. "Evil came into our church and evil tried to prevail, but evil didn't win, God won."

About the Authors:

Steve Spriester started at KSAT in 1995 as a general assignments reporter. Now, he anchors the station's top-rated 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts.