Tennessee Church Shooter Wanted to Help People But Had a Troubled Background

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Antioch, Tennessee: Emanuel Samson, the 25-year old Sudanese man who opened fire in a church, killing one woman, was the subject of several police calls before the attack. There were two domestic disturbance calls involving a woman identified as his girlfriend and, in another instance, he called his father and threatened to kill himself. In 2010, Samson posted on social media that he wanted to be either a psychologist or a preacher and wanted to help people. [It is highly speculative, but we can’t help notice the parallel to many other shootings in which the killers were on anti-depressant drugs, which are known to induce impulses of suicide and homocide. Hopefully, some brave journalist will probe into this possibility.] -GEG

NASHVILLE — In 2012, Emanuel K. Samson greeted a Sunday morning with warm enthusiasm.

“Rise & shine,” he wrote on Facebook in January of that year. “It’s church time!”

It had become a typical refrain. For years, Samson wrote regularly of his Christian faith and his excitement about going to church.

At times, he offered to bring friends along so he could grow his church family.

But Sunday, more than five years later, was different.

More: Nashville church shooting suspect made cryptic Facebook posts

At 10:01 a.m., he sent a message to his employers at Crimson Security Service saying he would not be returning to work. Within an hour, investigators said, he arrived at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tenn., in a hail of gunfire.

Now, police say, the congregation he once called home has lost a member at his hands.

Samson, 25, left Melanie Crow to die in the parking lot after shooting her multiple times, police said. Inside, police and witnesses said, he sprayed the sanctuary with bullets, indiscriminately hitting six people and pistol whipping another.

Samson is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning.

Multiple interactions with police

The portrait of a troubled man has emerged after revelations of a series of events in the months before that explosion of violence.

On Jan. 29, Samson’s girlfriend told police in Murfreesboro, Tenn., that he punched and broke a TV during a fight. On Feb. 11, Samson told police the same woman had come to his apartment and pushed on the door when he asked her to leave.

No charges were filed in either case.

On June 27, Samson threatened to kill himself in an alarming text message to his father. “… I have a gun to my head …,” he wrote.

But Nashville police officers found Samson to be fine when they located him at an office for G4S, a private security firm.

Samson never worked for G4S — a spokeswoman there said he was not offered a position after a background check.

According to state records, Samson was licensed as an unarmed security guard from January 2014 to January 2016, but that license had expired. He was in a class last Friday trying to be re-certified, according to Nashville police.

Crimson Security’s legal adviser said Samson had reported for training on his first day of work Saturday. He was terminated after saying he would not work Sunday.

“There was no incident or indication of any problem with Mr. Samson at any time during his shift,” the adviser, Laural Hemenway, said in a statement.

Hemenway said Samson had begun the state mandated training that would allow him to renew his license.

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