1 person dead in Antioch, Tennessee church shooting

Photo: Metro PD

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- One person is dead after a shooting inside the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ on Pin Hook Rd. in Antioch at around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron says one woman was shot and killed in the church parking lot before the gunman went into the church and opened fire. The victim who died is identified by police as 39-year-old Melanie Smith.

The gunman has been identified by police as 25-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson, who police say will be jailed tonight on multiple charges including murder and attempted murder. Police say he had two guns.

The victims at Vanderbilt Medical Center are identified as 83-year-old William Jenkins, stable condition; 84-year-old Marlene Jenkins, stable; 60-year-old David Spann, critical but stable; 65-year-old Peggy Spann, stable; and 68-year-old Linda Bush, stable condition. The victims at Skyline Medical Center are 64-year-old Katherine Dickerson, stable condition; and 22-year-old Robert Caleb Engle, stable condition.

Engle is the church usher who police are hailing a hero after confronting Samson. The two had a physical altercation in which Samson was shot and Engle injured. Engle then went to his vehice, retrieved a gun, and held Samson at gunpoint until police arrived.

Engle has been treated and released from the hospital Sunday night. Skyline Medical Center released a statement on his behalf.

“I’ve been going to this church my whole life, since I was a small child. I would have never, ever thought something like this would have happened. I ask everyone to pray for the victims, family members of the victims, our church community. Please pray for healing. Also, please pray for the shooter, the shooter’s family and friends. They are hurting as well. I pray that through all of this that people will come to know Christ and I ask our nation to reflect on Romans 8:31: “If God is for us, who can be against us? I do not want to be labeled a hero. The real heroes are the police, first responders and medical staff and doctors who have helped me and everyone affected. My hope is for privacy for all involved.”

The other churchgoers have been moved to a safe location. A reunification area is set up at Beautiful Gate Church at 12316 Old Hickory Boulevard. Call 615-522-8135 for information on loved ones.

Mayor Megan Barry has responded to the tragedy:

“This is a terrible tragedy for our city,” Mayor Megan Barry said. “My heart aches for the family and friends of the deceased as well as for the wounded victims and their loved ones. Their lives have been forever changed, as has the life of their faith community at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ. My administration, especially the Metro Police Department, will continue to work with community members to stop crime before it starts, encourage peaceful conflict resolution and promote non-violence.”

Governor Haslam also responded:

‘Crissy and I are praying for the victims of the violence at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ and are committed to supporting the Antioch community in the aftermath of this tragedy.”

The ATF and FBI are investigating.

The U.S Justice Department is looking at this case as a possible civil rights case.

Metro police say the motive for the shooting is under investigation.

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