22-year-old Robert Caleb Engle is being hailed as a hero after he confronted a shooter at Burnette Chapel Church in Antioch, Tennessee on Sunday night.
According to reports, Engle confronted the gunman inside the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ after the gunman allegedly opened fire on the congregation. Authorities are calling his actions “extraordinarily brave”.
Police say that Engle suffered a “significant head injury” after the gunman, identified as Kidega Samson, pistol-whipped him. Furthermore, authorities said the gunman accidentally shot himself, which gave Engle the opportunity to run to his car to get his own gun.
Engle then held his firearm at Samson until police arrived. He was taken to a nearby hospital to treat his injury.
Nashville police Chief Steve Anderson on Caleb Engle, 22: "He's the hero here. He's the person who stopped this madness in its tracks." pic.twitter.com/8SOgYg2xn6
— Natalie Allison (@natalie_allison) September 24, 2017
A spokesman for Vanderbilt University Medical Center said two of the victims are critically injured, while the other four are in stable condition. The victims have been identified as William Jenkins, 83, Marlene Jenkins, 84, Linda Busch, 68, Katherine Dickerson, 64 and Engle, 22
Police say that Samson was charged with one count of murder, with additional charges coming later. The woman who was killed has been identified as 39-year-old mother Melanie Smith.
via The Tennessean:
Police say the gunman wore a neoprene ski mask when he shot and killed Smith in the parking lot of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, as the service ended shortly after 11 a.m. With his blue Nissan Xterra still running, the gunman then entered the rear sanctuary doors of the church and began “indiscriminately” shooting, police said. Among those shot were three men and three women, police spokesman Don Aaron said.
The church’s minister Joey Spann, 60, and his wife, Peggy, 65, were both injured in the shooting, said Nashville Christian School in a statement on Facebook. Spann is a Bible teacher and a high school and middle school basketball coach.
During the confrontation with Engle, the gunman shot himself in the left side of his chest, Aaron said. Shortly after the shooting, the gunman was transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, he said.
After the struggle, Engle exited the sanctuary, got a gun from his vehicle and guarded the shooter until police arrived, Aaron said.About 42 people were inside the church at the time of the shooting, officials say. All victims, including the shooter, were taken to area hospitals.
Engle released a statement from the hospital on Sunday night:
I’ve been going to this church my whole life, since I was a small child. I would have 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.
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?”
Furthermore, Engle said that he does not want to “be labeled a hero” as he believes the real heroes are “the police, first responders and medical staff and doctors who have helped me and everyone affected.”
Engle was released from the hospital on Sunday night.