Antioch Church Usher Hailed as "Hero" for Stopping Shooter


Shortly before 11a.m., a man dressed in a ski mask invaded the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch on Sunday.

The man, now identified as 25-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson, waited in his car until the church services were over with.

He then got out of his car and fired at Melanie Smith of Smyrna, killing her.

The man then moved into the church and began firing into the crowd of people congregating at the back of the church, wounding seven people, although their injuries are thought to be non-life-threatening.

As he entered the church, he was confronted by 22-year-old church usher, Robert Engle. Engle was pistol-whipped, and after a struggle the gun discharged, wounding Samson.

Engle then ran out to his car and retrieved his gun, holding the man at gunpoint until police arrived on the scene.

Nashville Police Chief called Engle a hero for stopping the man from killing more people, “He’s the hero. He’s the person who stopped this madness,” he said Sunday.

Four other guns were discovered in the SUV, all belonging to Samson, including one rifle and three pistols.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry released a statement Sunday about the situation,“This is a terrible tragedy for our city. My heart aches for the family and friends of the deceased as well as for the wounded victims and their loved ones. Their lives have been forever changed, as has the life of their faith community at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ. My administration, especially the Metro Nashville Police Department, will continue to work with community members to stop crime before it starts, encourage peaceful conflict resolution, and promote non-violence.”

Governor Bill Haslam also provided a statement which can be found on his Twitter page.

Four of the victims and the gunman were treated for their injuries at Vanderbilt University Hospital, and all are expected to make a full recovery.

Samson has already been charged with First-degree murder with more charges expected to come according to officials.

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