Last Sunday, Emanuel Kidega Samson walked into Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee, shooting and killing a woman in the parking lot as he entered. The 25-year-old then proceeded to injure another six people.
His shooting spree was cut short by the brave actions of an usher, who tackled him. The usher, Robert Engle, was pistol-whipped, but Samson eventually accidentally shot himself in the struggle. Engle then ran out to his car to get his own pistol, keeping Samson down until the police arrived.
Now, a note found in Samson's car might shine a light on his motive for shooting up the church. The note includes “reference to revenge for a white supremacist’s massacre at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, two years earlier,” reported AP.
Law enforcement officials shared the contents of the note with AP. The Associated Press said they have not viewed the note, but the officers did share a summarized version of it, which was circulating in an investigative report.
In the note, the writer seemed to be considering “revenge or retaliation” for Dylann Roof’s shooting at a South Carolina church in 2015. Roof, a self-proclaimed white supremacist, killed nine black worshipers at the church. He has since been sentenced to death.
“It wasn’t clear what precisely Samson is alleged to have written about the Roof shooting, or whether his note contained other important details that might also speak to a motivation or state of mind,” added AP.
The law enforcement officials who shared the note with AP spoke on condition of anonymity. They are currently not allowed to disclose information about the investigation because it is ongoing. Metro Nashville Police declined to comment on the information.
Since he was captured at the church on Sunday, Samson has been charged with murder. AP also adds that the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office have opened a civil rights examination into the shooting.
Even before information about the note was released, the shooting immediately called to mind the Dylann Roof shooting at Emanuel AME Church, in Charleston, South Carolina. However, despite the similarities, there are some differences in the churches.
“Unlike that church, which is mostly black, Burnette Chapel in the Nashville neighborhood of Antioch has a diverse congregation with people of various ethnicities,” reported AP.
Samson, who is black, had attended the church two years previously. He came to the United States from Sudan as a child in 1996, and he is a U.S. citizen.
Samson has a dark past. He expressed suicidal thoughts in June 2017; police had to interfere in his relationship twice last year, and he also made bizarre Facebook posts prior to the shooting.
“Everything you’ve ever doubted or made to be believe as false, is real. & vice versa, B,” he wrote.
Only time will tell if Samson opened fire on the church to even the score for the Emanuel AME Church shooting. However, if he did, then the choice of an ethnically diverse church—that he had previously attended—is an odd choice.
Please say a prayer for the people of Antioch, Tennessee, as they deal with this tragedy. In other news, here is a list of clever and hilarious ways people are raising money for Puerto Rico.