An usher is hailed as a hero for stopping a church gunman

Metro Police have made it clear: more lives could have been lost Sunday if not for an usher's quick, courageous actions to stop a church shooter in Antioch.

After a struggle, the gunman then accidentally shot himself in the left side of his chest.

Two victims of the shooting were the minister, Joey Spann, and his wife, Peggy.

At some point, the gunman also pistol-whipped a church usher, causing "significant injuries" to the man, Aaron said.

He then walked through the church silently, shooting six more people before he was subdued by an usher, 22-year-old Robert Engle. The usher then ran to his vehicle and retrieved a handgun, police said.

The trace would give authorities an indication of where the gun was purchased, who purchased it and whether it was purchased legally, the ATF representative said. "It would appear he was not expecting to encounter a fearless individual like the church usher", Aaron said.

"I do not want to be labeled a hero", Engle said in a statement Sunday.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the deceased victim has been identified as 39-year-old Melanie Smith.

Late Sunday, the Civil Rights division of the FBI's Memphis field office announced it was opening an investigation into the shooting.

Though he is a legal USA resident, officials said Samson is not a citizen. "If you are unable to attend, please join us in spirit".

It is further reported that the gunman, aged in his mid-20s and wearing a ski mask, shot three men and three women inside the church.

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The shooter then entered the church through the sanctuary's main door with two pistols and "began indiscriminately shooting", said Aaron, the police spokesman. He was later released and was expected to appear before a judge late Sunday night.

About 50 people were in the church during the shooting, Metropolitan Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron told reporters.

"This guy came and fighting with him and tackle him down", Minerva Rosa said. "It was a good church", said Merritt, 58. He is believed to have come to the United States from there in 1996 and was a legal US resident but not necessarily a citizen, according to officials.

"He's the hero", Police Chief Steve Anderson said.

Church members told police the suspect had attended services a year or two ago.

The statement says the Federal Bureau of Investigation will handle the collection of evidence.

"I've been going to this church my whole life", Engle said.

"He's just someone who care about a lot of people", Rheta Engle told the Tennessean. When he returned, Engle put his gun on Samson and held him down with his foot, Ramey said.

According to reports, the accused had shared number of cryptic posts on Facebook on Sunday morning before the attack.

On Samson's Facebook page, a post in the hours before the shooting read, "Everything you've ever doubted or made to be believe as false, is real".

In another post he wrote, "Become the creator instead of what's created".

  • Adam Floyd