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Gunman opens fire in Tennessee church, 1 killed


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#1 John81

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 10:18 PM

Gunman opens fire in Tennessee church, 2 killed By DUNCAN MANSFIELD, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 17 minutes ago



KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A gunman opened fire at a church youth performance Sunday and killed two people, including a man who witnesses called a hero for shielding others from a shotgun blast.

Seven adults were also injured but no children were harmed at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. Church members said they dove under pews or ran from the building when the shooting started.

The gunman was tackled by congregants and eventually taken into police custody.

Jim D. Adkisson, 58, was charged with first-degree murder and was being held on $1 million bail, according to city spokesman Randy Kenner, who did not know if the suspect had retained an attorney. Authorities were searching Adkisson's home in the Knoxville bedroom community of Powell, Kenner said.

The man slain was identified as Greg McKendry, 60, a longtime church member and usher. Church member Barbara Kemper told The Associated Press that McKendry "stood in the front of the gunman and took the blast to protect the rest of us."

Linda Kreager, 61, died at the University of Tennessee Medical Center a few hours after the shooting, Knoxville city spokesman Randall Kenner said.

Five people remained hospitalized, all in critical or serious condition. Two others were treated and released.

The gunman's motive is not yet known. The church, like many other Unitarian Universalist churches, promotes progressive social work, such as desegregation and fighting for the rights of women and gays. The Knoxville congregation has provided sanctuary for political refugees, fed the homeless and founded a chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, according to its Web site.

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 the case in case it turns out be a hate crime, Police Chief Sterling Owen said. Police were taking statements from witnesses and collecting video cameras from church members who taped the performance.

There were about 200 people watching a performance by 25 children based on the musical "Annie" when the shooting took place.

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 that she saw the gunman pull the shotgun out of a guitar case.

Witnesses reported hearing about three blasts from the .12-gauge shotgun, which spreads pellets out when the shot leaves the barrel. Witnesses said they did not recognize the gunman.

Church members said the gunman was tackled by John Bohstedt, who played "Daddy Warbucks" in the performance. He declined comment when reached by phone at his home.

Friends of McKendry said he was friendly with everyone.

"Greg McKendry was a very large gentlemen, one of those people you might describe as a refrigerator with a head," said member Schera Chadwick, whose husband, Ted Lollis, arrived at the church just after the shooting. "He looked like a football player. He did obviously stand up and put himself in between the shooter and the congregation."

McKendry and his wife had recently taken in a foster child.

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."

http://news.yahoo.co... ... h_shooting

#2 John81

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 11:05 PM

I saw a report about such matters, probably on Fox News, about the growing trend of churches to have security on duty.

These are very sad times we live in.

Another very sad thing is what was listed as this churches main activities. Not a mention of Jesus or even God, just "social change"; including pressing for "rights" for "gays". :sad

#3 jchahl

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 10:52 PM

That's horrible news.

Our church began to think about that recently. We've had several armed robberies at a cigarette outlet down the street from our church that got our congregation shook up a couple of times. Once, we caught someone running out of our church on one of the nights of a robbery. We are working on training a couple guys for security. It's sad that you would even need security guards at churches these days.

#4 John81

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 04:38 PM

Gunman opens fire in Tennessee church, 1 killed By DUNCAN MANSFIELD, Associated Press Writer
51 minutes ago



KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A man wielding a shotgun entered a church and opened fire as congregants watched a youth performance Sunday, killing one person and injuring eight others, Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen said.

Police said the gunman was taken into custody. They didn't immediately release his name. No children were injured. A hospital spokeswoman said five of the wounded were in critical condition.

Owen said the man killed was Greg McKendry, 60, a longtime church member and usher at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.

"It appears Mr. McKendry was the first person he (the gunman) encountered when he walked into the sanctuary," Owen said. "It's going to be a while before all the facts are cleared up."

A church member who arrived moments after the shooting said the gunman fired three times and was tackled. Officials wouldn't say exactly how many people subdued the gunman.

"It was a large group and we are thankful for them for without it, this situation could have been even worse," Mayor Bill Haslam said.

There were about 200 people in the church at the time of the shooting watching a youth performance being put on by 25 children.

Police had cordoned off the church with yellow and red tape, and were taking statements and collecting video cameras from church members who were taping the performance.

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.

The Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church is a community that meets to worship and work together for social change, according to the church's Web site. Since the 1950's, the congregation has worked for desegregation, racial harmony, fair wages, women's rights and gay rights, according to the Web site. The congregation also has provided sanctuary for political refugees, fed the homeless and founded a chapter of the ACLU.

http://news.yahoo.co... ... h_shooting




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