FBI Confirms Launching Civil Rights Case Into Muslim Immigrant’s Attack On Tennessee Church

By KRISTIN M. HALL and JOHN RABY, Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The pastor shouted “Run, run, gunshots!” and congregants hid under pews or in bathrooms as a masked man armed with two guns opened fire at a Tennessee church, killing one person and wounding six before being subdued.

Burnette Chapel Church of Christ member Minerva Rosa said members were talking about the success of their yard sale the previous day when they heard gunshots Sunday outside the building in a Nashville neighborhood. The church pastor, David Spann, 60, then shouted for everyone to run, according to a witness.

The gunman entered the church from the back after fatally shooting a woman outside, police said. He then walked through the church silently, shooting six more people before an usher subdued him, police said. Police later recovered another pistol and a shotgun from the suspect’s vehicle.

Rosa said the reading that day had been from Luke, Chapter 8, and she recalled the part about a woman who touched Jesus and was cured of bleeding.

By the end of the shooting, she was on her knees, her dress stained with blood, putting pressure on the gunshot wound in Pastor Spann’s chest. She and others got on their phones to call 911.

Another church member, a 22-year-old usher named Robert Engle, tackled the gunman and suffered injuries when he was pistol whipped. In the struggle, the shooter shot himself, although it wasn’t clear if it was on purpose or an accident. Engle retrieved his own gun from his car and held the man until police arrived, police said.

“He’s amazing,” Rosa told reporters about Engle. “Without him I think it could be worse. He was the hero today.” Authorities identified the attacker as Emanuel Kidega Samson, 25, of Murfreesboro, who came to the United States from Sudan in 1996 and is a legal U.S. resident.

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25-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson. Muslim immigrant from from Khartoum, Sudan.

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