2 Dead In Church Shooting, Suspect Held On $1 Million Bond http://www.privateofficer.com
According to police, the gunman, a stranger to church members, walked in during a youth presentation and opened fire at the church Sunday, killing two people, including a man witnesses called a hero for shielding others from the gunfire.
Thankfully police say, congregants were able to tackle and subdue the gunman now identified as Jim D. Adkisson, 58, who has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting and was held on $1 million bail, according to city spokesman Randy Kenner, who did not know if Adkisson had an attorney.
Linda Kraeger, 61, died at the University of Tennessee Medical Center a few hours after the shooting, Kenner said.
Five of those injured were in critical or serious condition at a hospital Sunday. Two others were treated and released.
The gunman’s motive was not known. But Kemper said the gunman shouted before he opened fire.
“It was hateful words. He was saying hateful things,” she said, but refused to elaborate.
The FBI was assisting in case the shooting turned out be a hate crime, Police Chief Sterling Owen said.
Police took statements from witnesses and collected video cameras from church members who recorded the performance.
“In a situation like this, we’re not taking any chances,” police Lt. Doug Stiles said.
Neighbors described Adkisson as a friendly man who would often work on his motorcycle outside and go on long rides on the weekends.
Melissa Coker, 44, said Adkisson had lived next door since she moved in four or five years ago. She said he had been a truck driver, but she didn’t believe he had steady work in the last six months or so.
“He’s just a really, really nice guy,” Coker said.
The shooting started as about 200 people watched 25 children perform a show based on the musical “Annie.”
Church member Mark Harmon said he was in the first row.
“It had barely begun when there was an incredibly loud bang,” he said.
Harmon said he thought the noise was part of the play, then he heard a second loud bang. As he dove for cover, he realized a woman behind him was bleeding. She looked like she was in shock, touching her wound, he said.
“It seems so unreal,” Harmon said. “You’re sitting in church, you’re watching a children’s performance of a play and suddenly you hear a bang.”
Harmon said church members just behind him in the second and third rows were shot. His wife told him she saw the gunman pull the shotgun out of a guitar case.
The church’s minister was on vacation in western North Carolina at the time of the shooting but returned Sunday afternoon.
“We’ve been touched by a horrible act of violence. We are in a process of healing and we ask everyone for your prayers,” the Rev. Chris Buice said in a statement outside the church. “I will tell you we love Greg McKendry. We are grieving the loss of a wonderful man.”
7 PEOPLE SHOT AT CHURCH
Knoxville TN July 27 2008
Ntl. Assoc. Private Officers
Seven people were shot and critically wounded Sunday at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church on Kingston Pike. in Knoxville, Tenn.
A police spokeperson said that one of those shot has died while the others are in critical condition at area hospitals.
Knoxville television station WBIR reported that church members tackled the suspect and held him until police arrived.
A church member told the media that the suspect was not connected to the church. He also said that the shooting happened as children were performing parts of the musical “Annie” during a regular service.
None of the children were believed to have been injured.
The incident took place at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.
According to on scene reports, the suspect was described as a man with long blond hair, who appeared to be in his 40s, walked into the sanctuary and opened fiire with a shotgun, shooting indiscriminately.
At least six or seven people were hit by the gunfire. They have been transported to UT Medical Center. Two are believed to be in serious condition.
No children are believed to have been hit by the gunfire.
Members of the church were able to knock him down and subdue him and take away the firearm.
Church members heard a loud boom during the church service, which began around 10:15 a.m., the witness said. Several other loud booms followed, and the witness said the gunman seemed to be shooting randomly across a row of people. Two congregants tackled the gunman, he said.
Many people fled to the Second Presbyterian Church after the shooting, and that church was placed on lockdown, according to a 10 News crew at the scene. People have since been allowed to return to the Unitarian church building, where police are questioning witnesses.
Knoxville city police says the call came in at 10:18 am. The first officer arrived at 10:21 am. The suspect was taken into custody at 10:22 am. Police believe he is the lone suspect.
KPD officials says Mayor Haslam has been made aware of the event, and a press conference will be held later today.
More information about the church can be found at their website: www.TVUUC.org
At this time the suspect, who police have not released any information about and have not disclosed his name, is in police headquarters being questioned. He currently faces one count of murder and numerous charges of attempted murder.