Prosecutors said Monday that Emanuel K. Samson, the man who allegedly shot up the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee, in September 2017, had planned to kill “a minimum of 10 white churchgoers” in retaliation for the deaths of black Christians by white supremacist Dylann Roof in 2015.
What’s the background?
On Sept. 24, 2017, Samson reportedly went to Burnette Chapel Church of Christ wearing a mask and a tactical vest and armed with a gun. According to prosecutors, he shot and killed one woman in the parking lot and wounded an additional six inside the church before he could be stopped.
In addition to the .40 caliber handgun used during the shooting, authorities said Samson had an AR-15 rifle and a .22 caliber pistol in his car. A 9 mm handgun belonging to Samson was also found in the church, according to police.
Prosecutors said a note in his car indicated that he had planned to carry out this shooting in retaliation for the nine people that Roof had killed at the historically black Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina. However, the exact wording of the note was not revealed at the time.
What happened now?
During opening statements in Samson’s trial Monday, Deputy District Attorney Amy Hunter revealed that Samson had written in the note that “Dylann Roof is less than nothing,” and talked about “the blood that 10 of your kind will shed … in terms of vengeance,” the Nashville Tennessean reported.
The note also had the words “1 up” scrawled on it, possibly in reference to Samson’s alleged desire to kill 10 people when Roof had killed nine.
Hunter also said that Samson had reloaded his gun just before “true-life hero” Caleb Engle tackled him.
“If not for Caleb Engle perhaps, we would have more than one count of premeditated murder,” she said.
Samson’s own attorney did not dispute that her client had shot up the church, but said that he did it because he was “very sad, very suicidal” and “wanted to die.” She claimed he was more interested in hurting himself than in killing people inside the church.