Another tragic situation has struck the nation after it was reported on Sunday that one person was killed and seven others were wounded in a shooting at a church in Antioch, Tennessee, according to local police reports. In the immediate aftermath, officials have reportedly called it a "mass casualty situation." So, as details continue to unravel, concerned citizens are likely wondering if the church shooting in Tennessee terrorism and how law enforcement is handling it all. Concrete details are still scare, but here's what is and isn't known so far.
Unfortunately, the situation is still being investigated by local police and there are many unanswered questions. For now, authorities are continuing to interview church members who were not harmed during the shooting, according to the Nashville Fire Department's Twitter page. But, while details continue to come into focus, it's important not to theorize about what happened so soon after it did with no evidence. There is no proof that this shooting was an act of terrorism. What there is proof of, though, is that someone had a gun and used that gun to inflict violence on others.
The suspect has been taken to the hospital as well, where police will be able to question him and put him in custody if they decide to. According to The Tennessean, the shooter's first victim was a woman in the parking lot:
Police say the gunman wore a neoprene ski mask when he shot and killed a woman in the parking lot of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, as the service was ending shortly after 11 a.m. The gunman then entered the church and shot three men and three women, police spokesman Don Aaron said. One man who confronted the shooter while inside the church was violently pistol whipped, he said.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, released a statement to her Twitter page as seen above, as well as on Nashville.gov Sunday afternoon, encouraging "peaceful conflict resolution," and condemning violent acts.
The Tennessean also reported that a couple, Joe Love, 67, and Donna Love, 56, who live across the street from the church, were some of the first non-church members on the scene. Love told the newspaper, "All of the sudden this man and woman came up to the porch," and they went to the church parking lot together where they saw the women who was killed and "covered up the victim with two towels." Love also told The Tennessean that "He shot her like she was a damn dog in his backyard," referring to the shooter's actions.
Don Aaron, spokesman for the Nashville police department, addressed the media Sunday afternoon, describing the events inside the church. According to CNN, he said:
One parishioner who witnessed the shooting inside the church "ran up and confronted" the gunman... During a struggle, the gunman mistakenly shot himself.
Aaron later said that the gunman's wounds weren't life-threatening, perhaps meaning that authorities will still be able to thoroughly question him shortly. In fact, "Agents from the FBI's Memphis field office are on the scene providing assistance to local law enforcement," CNN reported.
Police have also described the suspect as being "a Rutherford County man in his mid 20s," according to The Tennessean.
And as more and more details continue to be revealed, it's important to remember that at the end of the day, people's lives were ruined and changed on Sunday. And whether or not that was an act of terrorism, it was still wrong, and completely heartbreaking.