1 Dead, Several Injured in Mass Shooting at Nashville Church


Nashville police and emergency crews are responding to a mass shooting that occurred Sunday morning at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ.

As the situation unfolds, little information has been made public so far. But what is known is that at least six people, all of them except for one over the age of 60, were wounded, according to the Nashville Fire Department.

MSNBC reported that one person was killed in the church’s parking lot. That information was later confirmed in a tweet by the Nashville Police Department. The alleged shooter also was injured, the fire department tweeted.

According to The Tennessean, “At around 11:15 a.m., police began receiving calls that multiple shots were fired with people shot at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, according to a dispatcher. As of 11:40 a.m. a dispatcher said the scene was still active.”

The local police department also said that the victim was taken to a local hospital, and one of the victims was “pistol whipped.”

Update, 2:50 p.m.: In a statement by police spokesman Don Aaron posted by The Tennessean, at 11:15 a.m., as church services were finishing, “a gunman arrived in the parking lot. One woman who was walking to her vehicle was immediately fatally wounded by the gunman, who we believe then entered the rear of the church.

Other persons were still inside the church building. The gunman opened fire on them. Multiple rounds were fired inside the church.”

Six people inside the church were wounded and taken to local hospitals.

The gunman, in his mid–20s, was wounded by a self–inflicted gunshot and also was taken to a hospital.

According to Aaron, one church member confronted the attacker and was subsequently pistol–whipped. That victim then went to his own vehicle, retrieved a gun, and went back inside to confront the attacker.

The gunman, who was wearing a ski mask and arrived in a blue SUV, has been identified, but police haven’t yet released his name.

The scene is currently locked down while the investigation continues.

Update, 4:10 p.m.: The Tennessean has reported additional information about the shooting including that the church’s minister, Joey Spann, and his wife, Peggy, are among those who were shot and injured. Police said the attacker, who is 25, entered the church and began shooting “indiscriminately.”

The attacker also apparently shot himself while pistol–whipping an usher who tried to stop him.

The newspaper wrote:

Minerva Rosa, who was inside the church during the shooting, said she began applying pressure to the minster’s chest while waiting for authorities to arrive. As the shooter entered the church, Rosa said, Spann shouted, “Run.”
Although congregants attempt to run away, some were shot from behind, said Rosa, who had blood on her blue dress and cell phone case. “Our church is senior people. They didn’t make it out.”

Update, 5:35 p.m.: Police have identified the alleged shooter as Emanuel Kidega Samson, 25, from Rutherford County. The victim who was fatally shot in the parking lot is Melanie Smith, 39.

Following is a statement from Nashville Mayor Megan Barry:

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.

This story is developing.

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