While Engle was sitting inside the sanctuary of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee, Sunday morning, 25-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson stormed inside and began shooting people. Police say additional charges are expected. His first court hearing is Wednesday.
Police have said that the motive is under investigation, and the US Attorney's Office says a federal civil rights investigation has been opened. 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. Authorities identified the attacker as Samson, 25, of Murfreesboro, who came to the United States from Sudan in 1996 and was a legal USA resident. He sent an email Sunday at 10:10 a.m., within an hour of the shooting, saying he appreciated the opportunity to work but would not be returning. He is also a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and has a license to carry concealed firearms, police said.
Over the past year, police in nearby Murfreesboro, Tennessee encountered Samson on three separate occasions. During the fight, the shooter was shot in the chest with his own gun, according to police.
Samson's phone was traced to a Nashville business and officers checked on Samson's welfare.
Samson was also involved in a pair of domestic disputes this year, both of which ended in a visit from police.
"I didn't believe it", he told ABC News.
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Samson told police that he had attended the church, but not recently. Nearly 50 people were inside and the gunman wounded six.
As services were ending Sunday, the gunman - identified as a former member of the congregation - shot and killed Melanie Crow Smith, who was walking back to her vehicle. She died at the scene.
"It would appear he was not expecting a fearless individual like the church usher to initiate the struggle and confrontation", Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said.
One patient at Vanderbilt University Medical Center is in critical condition, the hospital said.
A 22-year-old usher named Robert Engle is being hailed as a hero for tackling the gunman and holding him at gunpoint until police arrived.
"The wound sent Samson to the floor". The church usher, who suffered head injuries from being pistol-whipped during the struggle, ran out to his auto to get a gun; he then returned and held the suspect at gunpoint until police arrived, police said.
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Two pistols were recovered in the church and two more guns were found in Samson's auto nearby.
Without Engle, "I think it could be worse", Rosa said. He was the hero today'.
Police said Mr Engle acted in an "extraordinarily brave" way. He's the person who stopped this madness'.
In a statement Mr Engle said: "I do not want to be labelled a hero".
I've been going to this church my whole life, since I was a small child. I never thought he'd do something like this'. Please pray for healing. "They are hurting as well".
Prayer vigils will be held Monday to show support for the victims and their families.
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