NASHVILLE, Tenn.--Middle Tennesseans are reacting to the tragic events that took place after a gunman opened fire at a Nashville church on Sunday.
Metro Nashville Police say 25-year-old Emanuel K. Samson shot and killed 39-year-old Melanie Smith in the parking lot of the Christ Burnette Chapel in Antioch, Tennessee Sunday morning before moving into the church and opening fire.
Samson injured seven others before he accidentally shot himself when a church usher confronted him.
Police say Samson was armed with two guns at the time of the shooting. Officials and residents responded to the tragedy, sharing their prayers and support.
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.”
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam stated he and his wife were praying for the victims: "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."
Rep. Jim Cooper tweeted he was "Horrified by the killing in Antioch. Following reports and hopeful that the injured victims recover quickly. "
Samson has been charged with one count of murder. Other charges will follow according to Metro Nashville Police.
DA Glenn Funk statement's on the deadly Antioch church shooting:
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords issued the following statement about the shooting:
"I'm heartbroken to hear that once again a place for peace and prayer became a scene of horror and fear. My heart is with the people of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, their families, and the first responders who rushed to the scene.
Places like churches, schools, and neighborhood parks should always be safe spaces, where families and friends can gather without fear of violence. But that's not the America we're living in today. Shootings like the one that happened at the church in Tennessee this morning are occurring at an alarming rate: already this year there have been 264 mass shootings in America. This is not normal. This needs to stop. We've got to find the courage to face our nation's gun violence problem together and demand a safer future for our children."