One Dead in Tennessee church shooting, gunman identified


Police said Emanuel Kidega Samson killed the woman named Melanie Smith in the vehicle park of Burnett's Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch on Sunday (24 September) before entering the main sanctuary door at the rear of the church.

Authorities say the gunman had pulled up to Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, exited his vehicle, and shot a woman in the parking lot. The usher, 22-year-old Robert "Caleb" Engle, confronted the gunman, police said, and during a struggle, Samson was injured with a shot from his own gun.

Local police and federal authorities worked Monday to determine why a man went on a deadly shooting spree at a Nashville-area church, while a shocked community prepared for prayer vigils for the victims and their families in the shooting's aftermath.

Samson, who was wearing a neoprene half-mask, then entered the church and began to shoot "indiscriminately", wounding six people who were later treated for non-life-threatening injuries, according to police. Among the survivors was Joey Spann, the church's pastor. She died at the scene.

The vigil will be held at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, which is located at 3890 Pin Hook Road, beginning at 7 p.m. "He is believed to have been there for at least several minutes before church let out", the police said in a statement.

Aaron said as many as 50 people were in the church at the time of the shooting, and that all victims were adults.

Police charged Samson Sunday night with one count of murder and said multiple charges were pending. During the struggle, Samson shot himself, but he survived the wound.

Police have released the identity of a suspect in a Tennessee church shooting.

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"He's the hero", said Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson, according to NBC News.

By the afternoon, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department had identified the woman churchgoer who was fatally shot as Melanie Smith, 39, from the Rutherford County town of Smyrna, Tenn.

Nashville Christian School, where David Spann is listed as a coach, released a statement that read in part "Please lift up Coach Spann and his wife Peggy and all who have injured or impacted by this tragic event".

Blake Langford, 21, got a text from his father telling him not to come to the church where his family attended after the shooting.

Ramey said Engle told him he sprang into action after hearing gunshots inside and outside the church.

The alleged shooting occurred at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in the neighborhood in Antioch.

Vickey Merritt, whose husband was inside but was not harmed, called it a "good church" and told the Chicago Tribune, "It had recently started taking in homeless people over the weekends".