Emanuel Kidega Samson was arrested and is being held without bond on a charge of first-degree murder after he shot up a church in Tennessee. The suspect, a Sudanese immigrant, allegedly donned a mask and held two guns as he shot and killed a 39-year-old woman in the parking lot of the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ. After that, he walked to the church to commence his his shooting. He has admitted to going to the church and and firing upon the building according to an affidavit.
Samson reportedly left his vehicle running in the parking lot outside of the chapel as he embarked on his deadly mission to shoot at churchgoers. After he allegedly shot a 39-year-old woman he was then seen entering the church and indiscriminately shooting at the church attendees who are predominately white.
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What he did not factor in was that Robert Caleb Engle, a 22-year-old parishioner, would run to his car, grab his own gun, and then confront the gunman. A struggle ensued which lead to the gunman being shot. Police believe that the gunman shot himself unintentionally in the pectoral muscle area during the struggle with Engle.
Parishoners said they did not recognize Samson with the mask on, but when they saw him unmasked they believe he attended services at the church a couple of years ago.
What motive could Samson have had to carry out this deadly mass shooting? There are quite a few contributing factors and theories floating around social media about this.
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In June of 2017, Samson apparently was struggling with suicidal thoughts when he sent off a barrage of disturbing messages to his father stating that he has a gun to his head. This caused Samson's father to call the police who then triangulated his mobile phone signal to find out that he was in Nashville at the time. It is not clear if police were able to physically locate him.
Earlier this year, Samson was involved in two domestic violence incidents in which Murfreesboro police were called. According to police reports Samson had gotten into a heated argument with his girlfriend when he was accused of cheating on her. He reportedly became violent, breaking things in the house which prompted his girlfriend to make the emergency call for help. Essentially, even though she called for help, she did not press charges against him.
The second incident with his girlfriend was similar. He claimed she still visited his house. They were not together at the time.
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Samson made several posts in the hours leading up to the shooting. His final post said, "Everything you've ever doubted or made to be believe as false, is real. & vice versa."
The Memphis field office of the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office for the region stated that they have begun a civil rights investigation and declined further comment on an ongoing investigation.
The mayor for the area, Megan Barry, said that this was a terrible tragedy for the city and that she will avail all of the resources available to her to get to the bottom of this senseless act.
Pending the results of the investigation, more charges will likely follow.