Masked gunman kills woman, wounds several others at Nashville church

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Police investigate a suspicious car in the parking lot of the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ on September 24, 2017 in Antioch, Tennessee. One person was killed and seven were wounded when a gunman opened fire in the church. (Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images/AFP)
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This undated photo provided by Metro Nashville Police Department shows Emanuel Kidega Samson. A gunman entered a church in Tennessee on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, and opened deadly fire an official said. Metropolitan Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron identified the Samson. (Metro Nashville Police Department via AP)
Updated 25 September 2017

Masked gunman kills woman, wounds several others at Nashville church

TENNESSEE: A masked gunman killed a woman in the parking lot of a Tennessee church on Sunday morning and wounded six worshipers inside the building before shooting himself in a scuffle with an usher who rushed to stop the attack.
The shooter, identified as Emanuel Kidega Samson, 25, walked into Nashville’s Burnette Chapel Church of Christ wearing a ski mask and opened fire, Metropolitan Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron told reporters.
As the church usher grappled with the suspect, he was struck in the head with the gunman’s weapon before the suspect fired and wounded himself in the chest, police said.
Although injured, the usher, 22-year-old Robert Engle, then retrieved a gun from his vehicle, re-entered the sanctuary and held the suspect at bay until police arrived.
“This is an exceptionally brave individual,” Aaron said of the usher during a briefing outside the church in Antioch, about 10 miles (16 km) southeast of downtown Nashville.
About 50 people were worshipping at the church when the gunman entered. Samson was armed with two pistols and had another handgun and a rifle in his sport utility vehicle, according to a police statement.
Police had not determined the motive behind the shooting, but the spokesman said evidence was found that might establish why the man opened fire.
Church members told investigators Samson attended the church in the past, but not recently, Nashville police said in a statement.
Samson was charged with murder, and authorities planned to bring other charges against him, police said.
A churchgoer, Melanie Smith, 39, of Smyrna, Tennessee, was fatally shot in the parking lot, where she was found lying next to the suspect’s blue SUV.
All but one of the six people wounded by gunfire were 60 or older and were taken to nearby hospitals, said Nashville Fire Department spokesman Joseph Pleasant. At least some of the wounded were in critical condition, he said.
The church’s pastor, Joey Spann, was shot in the chest and was being treated at a hospital, WKRN television news channel reported, citing the pastor’s son. The Nashville Christian School, where Spann is a coach and Bible teacher, said Spann’s wife also was injured.
Samson was treated at a hospital and transferred to a jail. In a photo released by police, he was shown walking in blue hospital garb, as police officers led him along a walkway.


Lampedusa mayor slams Rome over migrant boat standoff

Updated 22 August 2019

Lampedusa mayor slams Rome over migrant boat standoff

  • “The island no longer exists politically. It is just exploited in political clashes in Rome.”

LAMPEDUSA, Italy: The mayor of Italy’s Lampedusa island on Thursday denounced the collapsing government for its failure to deal with migrant rescue boats, as a ship carrying 356 people remained stranded in the Mediterranean.
Mayor Salvatore Martello said the reception center on the tiny isle was already over capacity and would struggle to house migrants currently stuck aboard the Norwegian-flagged Ocean Viking.
The vessel, run by charities Doctors Without Borders and SOS Mediterranee, has sought a port for almost two weeks after rescuing four boats of migrants off the Libyan coast between 9 and 12 August.
“It would be difficult because the reception center is saturated,” Martello told AFP.
“The island no longer exists politically. It is just exploited in political clashes in Rome.”
Lampedusa has long been a magnet for African migrants fleeing poverty and conflict.
Thousands have attempted to make the unsafe crossing from Libya in a bid to reach Europe this year, despite efforts to deter them.
Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has been accused of demonizing migrants and leaving them to drown in the sea.
He has repeatedly insisted that rescued migrants can only land in Italy if other EU countries take them in.
Italy’s president on Thursday was holding a second day of talks after the disintegration of the anti-immigrant coalition government, which broke down after the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday.
The plight of the migrants aboard the Ocean Viking, which was denied entry by both Italy and Malta, is the latest in a string of migrant boat standoffs with Italian authorities.
The Open Arms rescue ship was allowed to land in Lampedusa on Wednesday, with 83 migrants disembarking, after Italian justice ordered they be brought ashore.
Many of them had spent 19 days on board the ship after being picked up while in difficulty in waters off Libya.
There were initially 147 mainly African migrants on the ship but all minors and some suffering health problems had already disembarked.
A European deal to redistribute them has yet to be implemented.