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Terrifying mass shooting at Nashville church leaves several injured (UPDATED)

9/24/2017 (5 months ago)
Catholic Online (

Shooter opened fire during Sunday morning service

A mass shooting at a Nashville church has left eight people injured, one fatally, Sunday morning.

Churchgoers were victims of a mass shooting at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ on Sunday, September 24, 2017.

Churchgoers were victims of a mass shooting at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ on Sunday, September 24, 2017.


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to a series of tweets from the Nashville Fire Department, a shooter opened fire at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, TN around 11:00 am.

The church holds their weekly Sunday service at 10:00 am.

Among the eight injured, all but one were over the age of 60 and one of the victims has reportedly died from the wounds. The shooter is also among those injured and now in police custody.

"This is a mass casualty situation. All of the wounded have been transported to area hospitals. The majority are older adults," read a tweet from the Nashville Fire Department.

According to the Tennessean, the former pastor of the church stated "a fella walked in, sat down in a seat and pulled out a pistol and started shooting."

The motive remains unclear but according to dispatch audio from a police scanner and, one 911 caller described a shooter wearing a "clown mask."

"There's two people that come up to our door and say 'someone is shooting at us at the church,'" expressed a woman living near the church to WKRN-TV. "[Her husband] called 911 and told the police, the station, there was a shooting at the church.

"We had heard something, I was in the back of the house and it sounded like a wreck, but it wasn't a wreck."

All uninjured church attendees were transported to a safe area where they will be interviewed by investigators.


The suspected shooter is a 25-year-old legal Sudanese immigrant named Emanuel Kidega Samson. Samson immigrated to the United States in 1996.

The first and fatal shot was initiated in the church parking lot as 39-year-old Melanie Smith was walking to her car.

Samson then entered in from the back of the "predominantly white" church and took his other shots before being taken down.

Church Usher Robert Engle, 22, is being praised as a hero for confronting the gunmen at gunpoint during the attack, possibly preventing further injuries.

"The Memphis FBI Field Office's Nashville Resident Agency, the Civil Rights Division, and the US Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Tennessee have opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee. The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence," FBI Memphis told Fox News.

The injured victims are being treated at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and at Sykline Medical Center and are reportedly in stable condition, according to Fox News.

This remains an ongoing investigation and this report will be updated as soon as more information comes in.

For now, let us pray for all those injured and affected by yet another horrific attack on the faithful. Stand with us and pray they find comfort and peace as they heal from a traumatic experience.


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