An immigrant from Sudan is suspected of killing a 39-year old mother of two at a church parking lot in Antioch, Tennessee.
Melanie Crow Smith was fatally shot while walking from the church to her vehicle, and six others were injured, including one of the church’s ministers and his wife.
Emanuel Kidega Samson, the alleged gunman, walked into the church and began shooting those inside. Heavy reports that Samson used to go to the church, but had not been to any services for some time. Nashville police found four guns believed to be Samson’s, three pistols and one rifle.
Robert Engle, an usher with a permit to carry a gun, was credited by police for helping to stop Samson. In the struggle, Samson shot himself, and Engle then held him at gunpoint until the police arrived.
Engle was pistol whipped by Samson. He was treated and released from the hospital the same day.
Metro Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson named Engle as the hero of the day in a news conference, according to The Tennesean.
“He’s the hero. He’s the person who stopped this madness,”
Samson moved to the United States from Sudan some time in the 1990s. According to police, he is a legal U.S. resident, but not a citizen. The police currently have no suspected motive for the attack.
The Tennesean found Samson posted “several cryptic Facebook posts,” including one possibly “alluding to a sudden attack” only hours before he opened fire at the church.
A 10-year-old boy helped barricade the door door inside the church.
“When I heard someone scream ‘Get down’ and more screaming, I grabbed a couch and turned it on its side and I got a table and I got chairs and I just put chairs and chairs (by the door),” Reese said.
At that point, Reese recalls thinking, “I didn’t know if this guy was dead or if my family was still alive.”
Sudan was part of President Trump’s original travel ban. However, the Trump administration recently dropped it from the list of nations covered in the ban, citing Sudan’s cooperation with the U.S. government.
The Times of Israel reported that Sudan vowed to “normalize ties” with the United States as the ban was lifted.
“The government of Sudan will carry out more efforts to remove all obstacles to a full normalization of relations with the American administration,” [the ministry] said.
The Trump administration banned immigrants and visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, countries considered dangerous by the previous administration, earlier this year. In spite of the list being created by the Obama administration, President Trump faced enormous criticism from the public.
The ban was briefly held up in court before the Supreme Court ruled the ban constitutional in June.