NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A man from Sudan who carried out a deadly shooting at a Church in Antioch, Tennessee in 2017 has been sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
On September 24, 2017, Emanuel Samson opened fire at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, part of the Greater Nashville Area, killing one person and injuring seven others.
Samson was arrested after getting into an altercation with a bystander, and charged with first-degree murder of a white female with the intent to murder 10 Caucasians. The suspect told police that the attack was revenge for the 2015 Charleston church shooting.
He faced one count of first degree murder, one count of civil rights violation, one count of civil rights intimidation, one count of reckless endangerment, seven counts of attempted first degree murder, seven counts of felon with a deadly weapon with intent, and 24 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
WSMV reported: Church members shook their head while defense read transcripts of Samson’s jail calls. He told his girlfriend in the calls that while he was laying on the floor of the church “I could hear everything was saying and it was some funny sh**.”
The ex-girlfriend in one of the calls said, “Don’t get me wrong Americans are intelligent, but they aren’t intellectual.”
In another call, the ex-girlfriend told Samson, “every time they put you on the news they play that clip of you walking out. You look tall, you look black as f***, you look good as f***.”
The district attorney sought life in prison instead of the death penalty due to the wishes of the congregation.
The gunman carried two handguns, and after fatally shooting Melanie Crow outside, he entered the church from the rear, according to police. He then walked through the church silently, shooting six more people.
At this point, according to police, the gunman was confronted by an usher, 22-year-old Robert Engle, whom he pistol-whipped. During the ensuing struggle, Samson accidentally shot himself in the chest. Engle ran to his car to get his own gun and pointed it at the wounded Samson until police arrived to arrest him. Engle was called a “hero” by police.
A review of Samson’s Facebook page by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) found sympathies and interests to black supremacist figures and groups like the New Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam, as well as an affinity for conspiracy theories.
Samson, was a 25-year-old Sudanese native residing legally in the United States, having arrived as a child in 1996.