Prosecution Argues Racial Motivation in Burnette Chapel Shooting

ChurchLeaders | 5/21/2019 | Staff
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The trial has finally begun for the man who in 2017 shot and killed one woman and wounded seven others at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Nashville, Tennessee. Prosecutors are arguing that the gunman, who is black, was racially motivated, while his defense maintains he was mentally ill. The church, in the meantime, has been pursuing healing and the difficult work of forgiveness.

According to The Christian Chronicle, Pastor Joey Spann says the shooting has changed how the church worships: “We do not go to church anymore. We gather to worship. We come together. I’m reminded of the first century Christians and how every time they gathered had to be an exciting thing and a special thing because there were those who were trying to take it away from them….Well, we do that at Burnette Chapel.”

Attack - Morning - Sunday - September - CNN

The attack happened the morning of Sunday, September 24th, 2017. According to CNN, Emanuel Kidega Samson arrived at the church parking lot shortly before church was over and waited for people to start leaving. Melanie Crow Smith, the first person to exit the building, according to The Christian Chronicle, was shot and killed as she headed to her car.

Samson shot another woman in the leg before entering the building and continuing to shoot at random. There were about 50 people inside. It is likely that Samson would have killed and/or injured many more people than he did had not usher Robert Engle confronted him. Engle sustained injuries from the encounter and Samson suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound, although it is not clear whether or not he shot himself by mistake. Engle was able to retrieve his gun from his car and use it to keep Samson at bay until police arrived.

CNN - Samson - Man - Resident - US

According to CNN, Samson, a Sudanese man who was a legal resident of the U.S.,...
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