When Jimmy Meeks reached Sutherland Springs, Texas, the First Baptist Church was screened off as a crime scene as experts investigated the Sunday morning massacre that claimed 26 lives.
As a retired police officer, and a Baptist preacher, Meeks didn't need to enter the ravaged sanctuary. As a church-security consultant, he paid special attention to the church's parking lot and the surrounding area.
When the gunman arrived, he parked across the street. He had to cover lots of ground to reach the church.
"It's just a simple little building," said Meeks, who is part of a "Sheepdog Seminars" team, training church leaders how to protect biblical "sheep" from "wolves."
"There are churches like this one all over the country -- there always have been and there always will be. ... So many churches don't have someone outside in the parking lot, standing watch. They don't see the danger coming."
Church-security issues are back in the news, as America faces renewed debates about safety, faith and the Second Amendment.
But some church leaders, like Meeks, have been studiously paying attention to church-security issues ever since the night of Sept. 15, 1999, when an angry outsider entered Wedgwood Baptist in Fort Worth, Texas, and killed seven during a youth-group prayer rally.
Since 1999, at least 800 people have died in church attacks across America, said Meeks, who has 35 years of police experience, including 11 years when he led a Fort Worth church while serving as an officer in nearby Hurst. Two of his areas of expertise are hostage negotiations and crime-prevention techniques.
So far, 108 people have been killed in churches during 2017. The previous record was 77 in one year.