Amid all of the controversy about who is or isn’t standing up for the National Anthem at football games, an actual tragedy has occurred. A masked man entered a rural evangelical church in the South and shot six people before a member of the congregation fought him for his gun. In the scuffle, the gunman managed to shoot himself.
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The incident happened at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ 30 miles outside of Nashville, Tennessee in the town of Antioch Sunday morning. One woman was killed in the parking lot. The others were shot inside the church. The injured reportedly include the pastor and his wife.
“A gunman wearing a neoprene mask arrived in the parking lot and one woman who was walking to her vehicle was immediately fatally wounded by the gunman,” Metro Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron said at a press conference.
The gunman has been identified as Emanuel Kidega Samson, a 25-year-old African American male originally from Sudan.
“At this juncture, six persons, six innocent persons were wounded by gunfire. They have been taken to area hospitals,” Aaron said.
“The gunman was wounded by a self-inflicted shot to the chest; he too has been taken to a hospital.” It is unclear if the shot to the chest was an attempt at suicide, or an accident.
The names of the wounded have not bee released, but members of the church have confirmed that pastor Joey Spann and his wife Peggy Spann were both shot.
The shooter, who entered the building wearing a ski mask, drove to the church in an SUV, which police later checked the for explosives.
Once inside the church, an usher charged the gunman. During the fight, the shooter struck the man several times with his gun. “There was a significant struggle between the two,” he Aaron reported. “During the struggle, the gunman shot himself, probably not intentionally.”
“This particular church member has a handgun carry permit,” Aaron added. Yet he was not carrying his handgun in church. “The usher went to his vehicle, got his gun, came back inside and made sure the gunman didn’t make anymore movements until the police department arrived.”
The Daily Mail is reporting that Spann teaches Bible classes at the Bellevue school, which released the following statement:
“As you may already know, one of our Bible teachers, Joey Spann, and his wife were both injured in the church shooting this morning at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch.
“We do not have any additional information at this time but want to boldly ask you to pray. Please lift up Coach Joey Spann and his wife Peggy and all who have been injured or impacted by this tragic event.
“We will keep you informed when we have more information. Thank you for being a part of our family of faith and for interceding on behalf of the Spanns.”