DA to seek life without parole for accused Antioch church shooter

DA to seek life without parole for accused Antioch church shooter

One person was killed and others were injured in a shooting at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch. (Photo: Metro Nashville Police Department)
Emanuel Kidega Samson is charged with murder. (Photo: Metro Nashville Police Department)


The District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday that it will be seeking the enhanced penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole for Emanuel Samson.

Samson is accused of killing one person and attempting to kill several others at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch on Sept. 24, 2017.

If convicted, Samson could also face additional sentencing for the remaining 42 counts of the indictment.

Police said that Samson shot and killed 38-year-old Melanie Crow in the parking lot as the church dismissed at 11:15 a.m.

According to police, Samson then entered the sanctuary of the building through the front door with two pistols. He fired multiple rounds inside the sanctuary wounding six people, including the pastor, Joey Spann.

Robert Engle, an usher at the church, was praised by police for his role in apprehending Samson.

“Mr. Engle is the hero,” Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron said at a press conference at the church on the day of the shooting. “Mr. Engle saved countless lives here today. It could have been much worse.”

Police said Engle confronted Samson and engaged him in a struggle, which resulted in Engle being pistol-whipped. Samson’s gun discharged during the struggle, striking him in the left chest.

After the struggle, Aaron said Engle went to his car, despite a head injury, and retrieved a gun, forcing Samson to remain on the ground until police arrived.

Under court order, all other information in the case remains sealed, according to the district attorney’s office.

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