Tenn. church shooter sentenced to 291 years in prison

Melanie Crow Smith, Emanuel Kidega Samson
Emanuel Kidega Samson, 25 (L), of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, is accused of shooting eight people at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ. Melanie Crow Smith, 39 (R) was murdered by Samson. |

A man who shot up a church in Tennessee resulting in the death of a mother of two plus multiple injuries to others was sentenced to 291 years in prison.

In 2017, Emmanuel Samson murdered Melanie Crow outside of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch before entering the church and wounding multiple others.

Judge Cheryl A. Blackburn sentenced Samson to 291 years in prison on Tuesday, which will be served consecutively with his life sentence.

Judge Blackburn gave the shooter 25 years for each attempted murder, plus six years for a firearms charge, as well as years added for additional minor charges, according to CBS affiliate WVLT.

A former member of Burnette Chapel who worked as a security guard, in September of 2017, Samson shot Crow dead in the parking lot of the church before entering the building and shooting others.

Samson was reportedly motivated by the 2016 mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in which white supremacist Dylan Roof entered a Bible study and murdered nine people.

When the 2017 shooting began, the pastor shouted at worshipers to run away, with many hiding behind pews or in other rooms for safety. The pastor and his wife were among those wounded.

The shooting was stopped by churchgoer Robert Caleb Engle, who attacked Samson and eventually pulled a gun of his own on the attacker until police arrived.

In a statement released at the time, Engle said that he had been going to the church since he was a child and “never, ever thought something like this would have happened.”

“I ask everyone to pray for the victims, family members of the victims, our church community. Please pray for healing. Also, please pray for the shooter, the shooter's family and friends. They are hurting as well,” stated Engle in 2017.

“I pray that through all of this that people will come to know Christ and I ask our nation to reflect on Romans 8:31: 'If God is for us, who can be against us?'”

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