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Tennessee church shooter kills female parishioner, injures seven others

September 26, 2017

A Sudanese immigrant killed one female parishioner and injured seven others after opening fire at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee, according to police records.

Emanuel Kidega Samson, 25, admitted to police he opened fire on the church, according to police affidavits, The Tennessean reported.

Samson got out of his vehicle wearing a mask and armed with two pistols before firing upon the church building and killing 39-year-old Melanie Smith in the church parking lot.

One church-goer, Robert Engle, 22, tackled Samson, leading to a struggle between the two men. Engle was pistol-whipped during the exchange, but Samson shot himself during the struggle, allowing Engle to retrieve his own firearm and hold Samson until police arrived. It wasn’t clear if Samson shot himself on purpose or by accident.

Police said that Samson had an unloaded semi-automatic AR-15 rifle and a .22-caliber pistol in the vehicle he left running in the parking lot.

Samson is charged with one count of murder and is held without bond at Metro Jail. He is expected to appear in court Wednesday morning and face additional charges.

“The shooting today at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ is a terrible tragedy for our city,” Mayor of Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County, Megan Barry, wrote on Twitter.


According to police, Samson worked at a local security company as an unarmed security guard, but informed them the day of the shooting via email that he would not be returning to the job, The Tennessean reported.

Samson wrote cryptic messages on Facebook multiple days leading up to the shooting.

“Everything you’ve ever doubted or made to be believe as false, is real. & vice versa, B,” he wrote, according to the Tennessean.

“Become the creator instead of what’s created. Whatever you say, goes,” Samson wrote.

“You are more than what they told us,” he wrote.

In another Facebook post, the words “unrestricted paroxysm” accompanied two photos of him flexing his muscles.

Police said that Samson’s father reported that Emanuel sent him an ominous text June 27.

“Your phone is off, I have a gun to my head, have a nice f—— life,” the text message read.