Tennessee Church Shootings "Retaliation"

Gunman's note cited 2015 Charleston church massacre

Roger Davis
September 30, 2017 - 11:36 am

"A note found in the car of a man charged with spraying deadly gunfire at a Tennessee church made reference to revenge for the 2015 shootings at the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston.

Nashville Metro Police sources say the note offers a glimpse into Emanuel Kidega Samson's mindset at the time of last Sunday's shooting and a possible motive for the rampage which left a woman dead and six other people wounded at Burnett Chapel Church of Christ near Antioch.  Speaking on condition of anonimity, Metro Nashville detectives said the note "referenced"  Dylann Roof, the avowed white supremacist who killed nine black worshippers in Charleston and has since been sentenced to death.  Samson has been charged with murder, and the FBI and U.S. attorney's office in Nashville quickly opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting

Investigators say Samson, masked and wearing a tactical vest, fatally shot a woman who was walking to her vehicle in the parking then entered the rear of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ and shot six other people, walking silently down the aisles with a .40-caliber handgun. The case immediately called to mind the killings at Emanuel AME Church. But unlike that church, which is mostly black, Burnette Chapel has a diverse congregation with people of various ethnicities, a detail noted in the report. And church members told investigators that Samson had attended services a year or two ago.

Samson, who is black, came to the United States from Sudan as a child in 1996 and is a U.S. citizen. Police records say he had expressed suicidal thoughts in June, struggled to hold a job and had a volatile relationship with a woman that twice involved police this year. Officers in Murfreesboro, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of the church, responded to a call from Samson's father, who had reported that his son had texted him June 27 to say: "Your phone is off, I have a gun to my head, have a nice f------ life."

Hours before the shooting, he made bizarre Facebook posts, including one that read: "Everything you've ever doubted or made to be believe as false, is real. & vice versa, B."

Metro Nashville Police say investigators recovered four guns after the shooting that were bought legally from in-state retailers: the 40-caliber handgun allegedly used in the shooting; a military-style AR-15 rifle found in a case in Samson's vehicle; and a 9 mm handgun recovered from the church. Police say a relative gave the guns to Samson for safe keeping.

Police say Samson bought a .22-caliber pistol found in his SUV.

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