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Emanuel Samson Being Charged with Murder in Today's Mass Shooting at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ



Emanuel Kidega Samson, 25, is being charged tonight with one count of murder in connection with this morning’s mass shooting at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ on Pin Hook Road. Multiple additional charges will be placed against Samson later.

The Emergency Communications Center received a 911 call at 11:15 a.m. about multiple shots being fired at the church. The first officer was on the scene at 11:20 a.m.

The investigation to this point shows that Samson, of Nicole Lane in Lavergne, Tennessee, pulled into the church parking lot in a blue SUV. He is believed to have been there for at least several minutes before church let out. When Melanie Crow Smith, 39, of Smyrna, appeared in the parking lot, Samson is alleged to have opened fire on her. She was fatally wounded and died at the scene. He is then alleged to have entered the main doors of the church sanctuary where multiple additional shots were fired.

Six persons in the church were wounded by gunfire. They are identified as:

  • William Jenkins, 83
  • Marlene Jenkins, 84
  • David Spann, 66
  • Peggy Spann, 65
  • Linda Bush 68
  • Catherine Dickerson, 64

None suffered life-threatening injuries.

As the gunfire was occurring, church usher Robert Caleb Engle, 22, confronted Samson and engaged him in a struggle, which resulted in Engle being pistol whipped. During the struggle, Samson’s gun discharged, striking him in the left chest. The wound sent Samson to the floor. Engle, despite his head injuries, ran out to his car in the parking lot and retrieved a pistol. He held Samson at gunpoint until police arrived. Samson was treated for his gunshot wound at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and discharged.

The motive for the gunfire remains under investigation. Church members said Samson actually attended the church in years past, but had not been there in recent times.

Four guns thought to be Samson’s have been recovered, two pistols from the church, and one pistol and one rifle from his SUV.

This investigation is being led by the MNPD’s centralized Homicide Unit. The FBI and ATF are assisting from a federal standpoint.


Burnette Chapel Church of Christ scene

Emanuel Samson being led to jail

Emanuel Samson being led to jail

Emaneul Kidega Samson, 25