NASHVILLE, TN (Fox News) – One woman was killed and seven other people were hurt after a suspect identified as a Sudanese immigrant opened fire at a Tennessee church Sunday, police said, as the FBI confirmed it’s launched a civil rights investigation into the shooting.
The suspect, 25-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson, immigrated from Sudan two decades ago, police said. He’s suspected of bringing at least two pistols and a mask to the predominantly white Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, southeast of Nashville, before opening fire.
Metropolitan Nashville Police Department tweeted that Samson had been released from the hospital and will be charged with murder and attempted murder.
Photos from a Facebook page under Samson’s name seemed to show him lifting weights and showing off his physique. A post earlier Sunday read: “Everything you’ve ever doubted or made to be believe as false, is real. & vice versa, B.” Another post read, “Become the creator instead of what’s created. What you say, goes.”
Police have not commented on the Facebook posts.
“The Memphis FBI Field Office’s Nashville Resident Agency, the Civil Rights Division, and the US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee have opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee. The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence,” FBI Memphis told Fox News.
Law enforcement confirmed Samson is a legal U.S. resident who immigrated from Sudan in 1996.
It was initially reported that the gunman shot himself, although police said it’s unclear whether he shot himself or the gun unintentionally discharged during his scuffle with Engle.
Police said that Burnette Chapel churchgoers recognized Samson as attending their church one to two years ago, but noted he hadn’t attended services “in quite a while.”
The woman who was shot and killed in the church parking lot, identified as Melanie Smith, 39, was walking to her car when she was hit, police said.
The gunman, with his blue vehicle still running in the parking lot, then entered the back of the church and shot six people – three women and three men – who were rushed to the hospital, police said.
Police identified those being treated at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and in stable condition as: William Jenkins, 83; Marlene Jenkins, 84; Peggy Spann, 65; and Linda Busch, 68. David Spann, 60, was also being treated at Vanderbilt, but was listed as in critical but stable condition.
Katherine Dickerson, 64, was in stable condition at Skyline Medical Center. Engle was also being treated at Skyline.
An usher, identified as Robert Engle, 22, confronted the gunman at one point and was pistol-whipped, causing “significant injury around his head,” police added. They said Engle went to his own car, grabbed a pistol and headed back into the church.
*It should be noted that the mainstream news media has largely ignored this attack, and refused to report on it, thus far.