Police have identified the gunman who opened fire inside a Tennessee church, killing one and wounding six on Sunday morning.
25-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson, wearing a neoprene half mask and driving a SUV, arrived in the parking lot outside Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, near Nashville, just as 10 a.m. services ended.
Samson exited his vehicle and shot one woman dead as she walked to her car in the parking lot.
He then entered the rear of the church, police say, and began randomly gunning down church members. All except one of the victims were over the age of 60.
Samson is a Muslim immigrant from Sudan and the victims were all Caucasian.
More than 30 worshippers attended the 10 a.m. service on Sunday. Police say 911 calls started coming in around 11:15 a.m.
A church usher, 22–year-old Robert Engle, confronted Samson who pistol-whipped him then shot himself in the left chest.
Engle, who has a carry and conceal permit, went to his car in the parking lot, retrieved a weapon and returned to ensure “the gunman didn’t make any more movements until police arrived,” said police spokesman Don Aaron at a press conference.
Aaron described Engle as an “extraordinarily brave individual.”
The wounded — including Samson — were transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Two of the victims were listed in critical condition and four were in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries.
Engle and another victim were transported to Skyline Medical Center.
Samson has since been released from the hospital and he was booked into the county jail. He faces charges of murder and attempted murder.
Officials asked residents to stay away from Pin Hook Road where the church is located. Samson’s SUV was towed away from the parking lot on the side of the church.
In June 2012, Dylan Roof, then 21, shot and killed nine church members during a Bible study meeting at a historic black church in Charleston, SC.
Roof was convicted in January 2017 and sentenced to death. He is on death row in Terre Haute, Indiana.