Tennessee Man Charged With First-Degree Murder as Shooting at Church Leaves One Dead, Seven Injured

ANTIOCH, Tenn. — A man who opened fire on a Tennessee church on Sunday, killing one and injuring seven others, has now been charged with first-degree murder.

Emanuel Kidega Samson, 25, reportedly was wearing a mask and holding two pistols when he arrived at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch shortly after the end of the morning service.

He first came in contact with member Melanie Smith, 39, as she was walking to her car, and shot her to death. Samson then proceeded to enter the church where he “began indiscriminately shooting” at those inside, according to police.

Among those struck by gunfire were Joey Spann, 60, who pastors the church, as well as his wife, Peggy, 65. Spann also serves as a Bible teacher at Nashville Christian School. He and his wife are listed in stable condition.

Also among the wounded include members Linda Bush, 68, William Jenkins, 83, Marlene Jenkins, 84, Catherine Dickerson, 64, and Robert Engle, 22.

Engle, an usher, is being hailed as a hero as he confronted Samson, being pistol-whipped by the assailant. He then went to his vehicle to obtain his own pistol, as he had a permit to legally carry a firearm.

“There was a significant struggle between the two,” Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron told NBC News. “During the struggle, the gunman shot himself—probably not intentionally—in the left pectoral muscle.”

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Engle then ensured that Samson stayed still until police arrived on the scene.

A 10-year-old boy is also being credited for his quick thinking as he helped to barricade a room that he and others were fellowshipping in outside of the sanctuary.

“When I heard someone scream ‘get down’ and more screaming, I grabbed a couch and turned it on its side, and I got a table and I got chairs and I just put chairs and chairs [by the door],” Jeremiah Reese told the Tennessean.

Samson, who immigrated to the U.S. from Sudan in 1996, told authorities during questioning that he “fired on the church building.” He had also posted to social media prior to the shooting, “Become the creator instead of what’s created. Whatever you say goes.”

“Everything you’ve ever doubted or made to be believed as false, is real & vice versa,” he also wrote, according to NBC News.

Kenny Love, a musician who knew Samson from high school, told the outlet that the act was uncharacteristic of the man he used to know.

“Only thing I can go off of is maybe he spoke to somebody who got into his head,” he stated. “He wasn’t big on religion. I think maybe the devil got to him. Or maybe he was going through something and no one knew it.”

Samson has now been charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder, and is being held without bond. Members state that he had attended the church a year or two ago.


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  • mr goody two shoes

    Pase the democrats and their media are trying to keep this quite. What’s wrong with you people didn’t you get the memo they sent.?

    • Peter Leh

      I saw this on a “Liberal ” news outlet.

      perhaps you are the one drinking the kool aid?

      BTW you can find whatever slant of news you wish now days. There is no more “liberal media” as in the accusation in the 80’s

      anyone can find any outlet that agrees with their political slant.

  • Jack-b-Quicker

    Isn’t Church of Christ an apostate church that marries lesbians and makes women pastors, etc?

    • mr goody two shoes

      Yes yet the bible is still there and sacraments to some degree.
      Where ever these things are present the Holy Spirit can work through them to bring people to saving faith inspite of the wrong doctrine the pastor might teach. In fact all the ungodly ness we see in the christian church as a whole is How God hides from view his true invisible church with that raging around them hiding them from view and even at times from harm . How many times has some one thought why mess with them there a!l of this world to yet some or even one isn’t.

      • Jack-b-Quicker

        That logic extends to Jonestown and we know how that turned out.

    • Robin Egg

      No sir. You are probably thinking of United Church of Christ (UCC) which is an apostate church. Church of Christ is a different denomination.

      • mr goody two shoes

        Just reading the first two comments makes a person kinda wonder if he murdered the wrong people . I know you don’t mean it that way .murder is wrong even if they go to the wrong church. Uffdah That doesn’t sound any better.😕

    • Peter Leh

      and what does that matter in this carnage?

      • Jack-b-Quicker

        Maybe God is judging them.

        • Peter Leh

          Maybe… hope you have ALL your theology “right”, no?

          otherwise …..

          • Jack-b-Quicker

            Otherwise what? If i am wrong then there is nothing to worry about. If you’re wrong, well…

  • mr goody two shoes

    (Become the creator instead of the created. ) Classic black american Muslim ..very similar to Mormonism in many Aspects. Totally different beliefs from middle eastern Muslims sects. as they would Consider that talk blasphemy.

    • Peter Leh

      Frank Graham jettisoned the long held conviction of Mormonism being a cult in order to vote for Romney, btw

      Look what we have jettisoned for Trump

  • Peter Leh

    At any given time we had 6-10 or more people carrying guns in our church. Civil servants.